NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — With the coronavirus pandemic still looming over North Texas, school districts across the area are adjusting, adapting and getting creative to celebrate 2020 graduates.
“I’m just happy I actually got to have one,” shared Lancaster High School student Kim Bryant.READ MORE: Arlington ISD Soccer Coach Joey Rodriguez Passes Away From COVID-19 Complications
In a necessary but creative break with tradition, parents are handing graduates their ceremonial diplomas. No opportunity for anything to spread except for smiles and memories.
“I didn’t think it would get to happen; but, I’m excited it did,” Bryant said. “It was very special… especially for it to be my mom and my dad. It was very special.”
Classmate Jessica Candler agrees.
“We get to walk across the stage like any other class would,” she said excitedly.
Her mother, Kimberly, said it’s very emotional.
“By the grace of God we made it through. We’re still here. That’s the thing that matters,” she said.
In a meticulously planned celebration, families wait in their vehicles until their appointed time. All have been pre-screened, but still consent to temperature checks and hand sanitizing stations at the entrance.
“This is showing what LISD is all about,” said mother Sherida Bass. “Children first.”READ MORE: Laredo Sector Border Patrol Rescues Two Children Part Of Group Entering US Illegally In Rio Grande River
Four family members can join the scholars on stage for pictures.
“We get to be up there,” she said. “All of the decorations and handing him the diploma myself? It’s amazing… indescribable.”
And although the auditorium is empty except for staff, everyone graduates with plenty of cheers.
For Principal Eleanor Webb, the brief but personal ceremonies are a promise kept.
“They have been tearful, cheering, happy, elated, joyful,” Webb shared. “Everyone has really been celebrating and we’re glad we were able to do that.”
She was especially grateful for Senior Class Principal Addison Russ for pulling it all together for her fellow students.
“They have hung in there,” said Webb. “And I’m most proud of the fact that my babies will get over $20 million in scholarships this year. So they’ve been good in the classroom, out of the classroom and now walking across the stage? Showing what tiger pride is all about.”
And while it was not the graduation that anyone could have imagined, the class of 2020 is savoring the moment.
“It just shows WEBO (we believe in orange)… it’s a family thing,” said Dillon Bedell. “[It] shows how much we’re all connected and how much we all care for each other.”MORE NEWS: Current, Former Southwest Airlines Workers Protest COVID-19 Vaccination Mandates At HQ
The in-person graduation ceremonies will all be compiled along with the planned speeches for a virtual graduation ceremony video slated for release early next month.