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Virtual graduations in the works
Seniors roll up for caps and gowns
virtual grad CHS
Ceres Unified School District’s technology team videotaped seniors walking across the stage in their caps and gowns last week in an empty Phil de la Porte Gymnasium. The virtual graduation experience is a backup if restrictions are not lifted by this summer.

Central Valley High School seniors were greeted by teachers, staff and administrators while picking up their graduation caps and gowns via drive-thru pickup on campus last Thursday and Friday.

“It was great to see the students again,” said Principal Carol Lubinsky. “They’re the reason we come to school. They mean so much to us.”

“I was nice seeing some of my teachers again,” said student Enrique Martinez. “We talked a little bit and cracked a few jokes. They congratulated me for being co-valedictorian.”

Unable to stage a traditional graduation this year due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Central Valley’s class of 2020 will be celebrated through a virtual ceremony.

“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.”

“I knew there was a possibility this could occur,” said Martinez. “A lot of people wish we had a traditional ceremony. But it’s not the end of the world. It’s better to have something than nothing.” 

Ceres Unified’s technology team will shoot video footage of Central Valley’s virtual graduation, May 12-15, in the school’s gymnasium.

 Speeches will be delivered by Martinez, Favio Gonzalez (co-valedictorian), Scarlett Lloyd (welcoming address) and Christy Hermenegildo (senior address).

“It’s still an honor to give a speech to a large number of people even though they’re not there,” Martinez said. “Knowing it’s going to be virtual, it’s not going to be as nerve-racking.” 

Lubinsky, CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel and Board President Mike Welsh will also deliver speeches.

“We’ll do everything we do in the regular ceremony,” Lubinsky said. “It will just be taped separately. It will be different. We won’t have the energy of the crowd.”

Jessica Faletti-Garza
Central Valley High School senior Jessica Faletti-Garza holds up a grad sign as she picks up her cap and gown last week.
John Thompson
Central Valley High School campus security guard John Thompson cheers on students picking up their caps and gowns.