HOLLISTER, Calif. (KION) San Benito High School normally fills a graduation with around 6,000 people in attendance. However, the coronavirus pandemic changed that for the only high school in the county.
A virtual ceremony was set up, but the graduation coordinator was determined to find a safe way to have a ceremony in person.
“It is one of those towns where we all understand the significance and importance of it,” graduation coordinator and teacher Brian Decarli said.
The answer was smaller ceremonies. 60 seniors at a time, with only two family members in attendance.
“We proposed this to the county office of health, they approved it and we were able to move ahead with it,” Decarli said.
“When they said we’re doing an online graduation, I was not really for it..." San Benito High graduating senior Valerie Magdaleno said. "Then they told us we’re doing an in person graduation, and I was like 'that sounds more like it'.”
The families stay in their cars in the parking lot, then walk towards the football field and stand in line six feet apart from other families. Then, one at a time each graduates name is read out loud.
“It's sad to lose all my senior year moments, but it's nice to at least have this,” graduating senior Jacob Hernandez said.
As content as many of the students seemed to be, some of the parents maybe even more.
“Even though it's not like it usually is, it's a pleasure to be here,” San Benito High father Jose Guerrero said.
“We're so happy and emotional too, because its finally happening,” San Benito High mother Angelina Davin said.
There were no loud roars from a crowd, but for the students it was a graduation nonetheless.
“It's happening. We’re moving on to the next chapter, and it's amazing,” Magdaleno said.
The smaller ceremonies will continue Wednesday and Thursday, 60 graduates at a time.
Full details on the San Benito High School graduation ceremonies here.