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Traditional graduations fall by the wayside
• Go to YouTube for virtual graduation week in Ceres
Piper Johnson
Piper Johnson, Whitmore Charter High School valedictorian, speaks in CUSD’s first-ever virtual graduation to take the place of a traditional ceremony.

This is a graduation week in Ceres – but a most unusual one at that.

The state’s social distancing and prohibition against large gatherings stemming from the coronavirus has led the Ceres Unified School District to cancel traditional graduation ceremonies and order virtual ceremonies. Videos of seniors receiving diplomas and speeches by students and school officials will debut on the internet website YouTube this week, timed with what would have been the campus ceremonies. Those videos may be found at and searching for Ceres Unified School District.

Whitmore Charter High School’s virtual graduation debuted at 6 p.m. on Monday.

The virtual graduation of Argus/Endeavor high schools was posted Tuesday, June 2.

Ceres High School’s virtual graduation will debut at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 4.

Central Valley High School’s ceremony will be viewable as of 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 5.

A link to Blaker Kinser Jr. High's video will be shared through ParentSquare Thursday, June 4, at 6 p.m.

Cesar Chavez Jr. High will see its YouTube premiere at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3 at

Mae Hensley Junior High School will premiered its video on Thursday, June 4.

Patricia Kay Beaver Leadership Magnet School's graduation link to video will be shared through ParentSquare Wednesday, June 3, at 6 p.m.

The eighth-grade ceremony of Whitmore Charter video will be distributed to students on USB drives   

In the middle of May Ceres Unified School District’s technology team recorded seniors walking across the stage in their caps and gowns in an empty Phil de la Porte Gymnasium. Speeches delivered by the principal, valedictorian, salutatorian, associated student body president, board members and superintendent were taped on Monday, May 11.

Ceres Unified’s technology team shot video footage of Central Valley’s virtual graduation, May 12-15, in the school’s gymnasium. Speeches were delivered by Martinez, Favio Gonzalez (co-valedictorian), Scarlett Lloyd (welcoming address) and Christy Hermenegildo (senior address).

“I feel bad for our students,” Lubinsky said. “But we have to deal with the reality of the situation by keeping everybody safe and honoring them at the same time. We’re going to the extreme to make them feel special.”

“Our seniors especially have lost so much,” said Beth Jimenez, communications specialist for Ceres Unified. “In planning a virtual graduation, it was important that it be as close to the real thing as we can get, in case this turns out to be our only chance to celebrate the class of 2020. We realize it won’t be the same as the celebration that students and families envisioned even a few months ago. Yet as the parent of a graduating senior, I really wasn’t sure I was going to be able see my daughter walk the stage at all, so I’m excited that the district is investing the effort and resources to make these virtual graduations as authentic as possible.”