Central Valley High School released its 2020 virtual graduation ceremony on Friday on YouTube in lieu of a traditional ceremony where friends and family could attend. It was an unprecedented event brought on by restrictions set for by the state of California in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Video of student speeches and seniors receiving diplomas was shot in mid-May in segments and stitched together to minimize physical contact between the 446 members of the class. As of Tuesday afternoon the video – which runs an hour and 43 minutes – had been viewed over 5,020 times. Comments were turned off.
Principal Carol Lubinsky said while the ceremony was not what was envisioned when school started but said the virtual graduation “contains more pride and love than any graduation I have been a part of.”
Rebecca Flores sang the National Anthem for the video.
Senior class president Scarlett Lloyd delivered remarks.
“We are all now headed our separate ways – some to college, some to military, or the workforce, wherever may be, we are all getting ready to start a new chapter in our lives,” said Lloyd. “It makes me sad now that high school is nothing but memories … that will be with us the rest of our lives. It’s heartbreaking to see senior year stripped from us and that stops us from making the last memories we would’ve created.”
She recounted her classmates’ experiences through the school system and experiencing life together. She also lamented the loss of the last prom, the senior walk, senior trip, Senior Day and no more school.
“We are strong and we will get through this … this is something we grow from.”
ASB Board Rep Christina Hermenegildo gave remarks, saying how the four years of high school were punctuated by “the craziest years of our lives” with the clown craze, wildlife smoke and a global pandemic.
“We must cherish the memories we did get to make … although our time got cut short as a class we have to move forward and be thankful for the years we did get at CV,” Christina noted.
She called for classmates not to be sad but celebrate new beginnings.
Co-valedictorian Enrique Martinez offered the Spanish Address, followed by remarks from Co-valedictorian Favio Gonzalez. He noted how he is the second child from his family to head off to college. He expressed the obstacles that learning from home presented.
“Standing here, despite all the setbacks and obstacles, shows that our drive, our perseverance, our willpower to endure is stronger than any deterrent,” said Martinez. “Now as we step into adulthood and strive to reach our goals there will be harder challenges to overcome but our willpower has been irrevocable.”
Principal Lubinsky told the graduates: “There is no doubt you are disappointed by the events that have been missed. But I want to encourage you to keep looking forward to what is ahead for you and there will be many opportunities for you in the future. I also want to encourage you to keep driving forward to make the world a better place.”