Seniors from Ceres High and Central Valley participated in their respective schools’ virtual graduations in recent weeks.
Because of restrictions against large gatherings, Ceres Unified School District has cancelled all of the traditional graduation ceremonies for next week. However, the district’s technology team filmed members of the class of 2020 walking across stages in their caps and gowns in empty gymnasiums. Each student posed for a picture with their diploma holder.
Parents, siblings and grandparents were not allowed to attend the recording ceremonies due to COVID-19 restrictions. The district will release a ceremony of the knit-together scenes on YouTube next week, timed with what would have been the traditional ceremony time. The Ceres Courier will be publishing a special section of local graduates’ names next week.
Ceres High’s Vianney Perez, Elias Saldana and Victor Hurtado, and Central Valley’s Scarlett Lloyd, Isaac Juarez and Kyle Hendrix are among the seniors disappointed about not being able to participate in traditional graduations.
They were also quick to praise CUSD and their schools for taking the time to celebrate them in a unique way.
“I scheduled the date with my friends,” Perez said. “We took pictures after. We made the best of our time on campus.”
“There’s nothing that could replace what we were supposed to have,” she added. “I really appreciate all the school is doing. We’ll give them props for that.”
“It was like an appointment at the doctors,” said Saldana. “It’s hard to have a memorable moment when you’re not with your family and close friends. It’s still nice the school did something just in case we can’t have a real one. It’s a graduation nonetheless.”
“Honestly, it was kind of weird,” commented Hurtado. “It was extremely quiet.”
“I’m thankful we had some sort of graduation,” he added. “If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t have done anything for us.”
“It was different,” Lloyd said.
“I appreciate Central Valley and the district for everything they’ve done for us,” she added. “They still found a way to honor us. I’m glad we got something. My cousin in the Bay Area just got a slideshow with her picture and name.”
“It’s pretty sad we’re not able to experience an actual graduation,” Juarez said. “I’m not saying that to bash anybody. I know they’re doing the best that they can.”
“It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling,” Hendrix said. “I didn’t think it (COVID-19) would take away my graduation. That’s how it’s got to be to keep people safe.”