The coronavirus has forced the world to a halt. And while today’s technological advancements allow us to continue with our regular lives—working, grocery shopping, getting in touch with people, among other things, from home—it’s no longer a possibility to take part in any public events… or is it?

In light of the viral outbreak, schools in Japan (among many other places) have been closed for the past two weeks and will likely continue to be closed after spring break at the end of March. This means that all school-related events like seminars, concerts, and, most importantly, graduation are also canceled.

The coronavirus has pretty much forced the entire world to a complete halt

Image credits: backyennew

Well, a handful of elementary school students decided to not let this important occasion pass by without a proper celebration and decided to improvise a workaround. Since they couldn’t have an official graduation ceremony at their school, they made one happen in the digital realm—in Minecraft.

A couple of tweets surfaced online on March 14, 2020 posted by user backyennew. The tweets showed his son participating in a virtual elementary school graduation that he and his friends had put together. Bored Panda got in touch with said twitter user, who introduced himself as Shuhei Kashiwara, the father of the boy introduced later in the article and Manager of the Hakuba Hotel Mokuzin in Nagano, Japan, for an interview.

But not these students, who decided to organize their own graduation ceremony in Minecraft

Image credits: backyennew

This was done in response to all schools and their events being cancelled in Japan, including graduations

Image credits: backyennew

The caption read: “What are you doing? We all decided to have a graduation ceremony together! Oh? Awesome. The elementary students gathered to start graduation themselves.”

Mr. Kashiwara, the parent that tweeted about this, stumbled upon his son attending the graduation: “I simply happened to see the graduation ceremony. One of my son’s friends is a third-year junior high school student. It seems that he planned and executed this with his friends.”

You read correctly—this wasn’t organized by the school or any of its staff. The students themselves did not want the current pandemic to take away their once-in-a-lifetime chance to graduate from elementary school, and so they did it within the comfort of their homes.

Image credits: Miakun channel

It had a full-blown auditorium with a host, speeches, and the giving of diplomas

Image credits: Miakun channel

The tweets said that the group of kids spent all day online together playing games, laughing, and having fun. The Twitter user also explained that he was surprised by how well the assembly hall was done.

“[The kids] are friends who play online every day. There were eight participants. Although they live in different regions and are from different grades, but they are good friends,” explained Mr. Kashiwara.

The whole ceremony was hosted on Minecraft, a sandbox video game that allows the player to mine, craft, and build virtually anything within the confines of their imagination. The ceremony featured a full-blown auditorium with a host, speeches, congratulations, the giving of diplomas, and everything else that you would expect from a graduation.

Image credits: Miakun channel

When it went viral, the tweet explained that this is “bright news that shines in a gloomy social situation”

Image credits: Miakun channel

Mr. Kashiwara explained why it is important to have a graduation and to participate in one within the context of Japan (but it can certainly be applied to the rest of the world): “The important point is memories with friends. It is a passing point at the break. The ceremony is boring and with long speeches given by adults. However, they extracted the most important parts for themselves during the graduation ceremony. I think it created wonderful memories within both directing and performing.”

The story was quickly picked up by the local media and went viral. As of this article, the tweet has garnered over 26,000 retweets with more than 83,000 likes.

Following this online popularity, Mr. Kashiwara explained that this is “[…] bright news that shines in a gloomy social situation. I want everyone to know that. I also hope that a new perspective will open up in the way games are perceived.”

Image credits: Miakun channel

A parent posted about his son participating in the virtual graduation on Twitter and it went viral

There is also a video from the virtual graduation with speeches, diplomas, and even a group picture moment

Image credits: Miakun channel

“I think that games are like playgrounds for kids—it is one of the more familiar tools for them. I am happy to see that the children on their own accord solved the problem within the context of the coronavirus,” continued Mr. Kashiwara. “I think it’s good that there was a feeling of compassion for our friends. There are, of course, also ways other than games. It is beautiful that the young generation seeks such challenges, and I am glad the kids got this chance.”

What are your thoughts on this? Have you been a part of a similar ceremony in an online game? Let us know in the comments below!

All quotes in this article are translated from Japanese.

Here’s how the internet reacted to the virtual graduation