High schools on the Central Coast are revamping their graduation ceremonies. Paso Robles Joint Unified School District is going as traditional as possible with makeshift ceremonies.
Instead of one ceremony with roughly 2,000 in attendance at War Memorial Stadium, Paso Robles seniors will be graduating in groups: 16 separate ceremonies with no more than 25 graduates.
“We’ll still have our big stage, we’ll have our celebration at the end; a confetti streamer for each ceremony,” said Jennifer Gaviola, PRJUSD Deputy Superintendent.
Graduation at War Memorial Stadium: a tradition that lives on, but with a twist. The event will be held July 8th through the 11th with four ceremonies per day. The stage will be set up on the field with families in separate, socially distant groups. As of now, graduates will get between 6-8 tickets for family and friends.
Gabriella Clayton, Paso High’s ASB President and a graduating senior, says she’s a bit jealous of classes that graduated traditionally, but she’s finding a silver lining with the changes.
“Our class definitely missed out on a lot of activities. I know, in the grand scheme of things, those activities don’t seem like a big deal, but in a sense, there is closure in those activities,” Clayton said. “Our district put the time and energy to do that and not give up. I’m jealous of other classes, but I’m also thankful for our class. We’re really unique. I think that’s going to make us stronger and more united.”
Clayton knows the ceremony won’t be the same, but she cherishes the fact she gets a final moment with her classmates.
“Even though it’s going to look a little different, I’m really glad that it’s going to be a really intimate ceremony, and I’ll have that closure with my friends,” Clayton said. “I was worried that school ended March 13th and that was it. We’re all going to head off to college. This our last hurrah together, so I’m really excited.”
Melinda Mullis, an employee at Paso Robles Joint Unified School District and the mother of a graduating senior, appreciates the work the district has put in to give her son a chance to walk across the stage.
“He definitely wanted a physical graduation, no matter what it was. I think he’ll be pleased to at least have that. It will be nice to see him up there, and I get to give him his diploma,” Mullis said. “I’m excited his family gets to be there, and hopefully a good group of his friends that are special to him can be a part of it, too.”
The district felt the need to give the students recognition for their hard work over the last four years.
“We really want to value our seniors. It’s been a rough year for them and their families. We believe it’s worth it, and they deserve it,” Gaviola said.
For families that are uncomfortable with the physical graduation process, you have the option of picking up your graduate’s diplomas from a different venue at the school in a private manner. The event will be live streamed as well.