Masked Grads

More than 90 Academy High School seniors donning facemasks emblazoned with the words “Lion Strong” received their diplomas Saturday morning during the Class of 2020 commencement ceremony held in front of the Santa Gertrudis School campus.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s commencement was held with strict social distancing guidelines enforced for both the graduating seniors and their guests.

Throughout the ceremony, the seniors wore facemasks as they kept distance from one another and were seated six feet apart in front of the school, while parents and other family members were made to stay inside their vehicles.

As students crossed the stage and received their diplomas, family members were allowed one-by-one to pull up and take photos of the student from inside their vehicles. Students were allowed to remove their masks while they were on stage.

For friends and family who were unable to be in attendance, the event was livestreamed online through social media as well as broadcast on the radio.

Instead of students and administrators taking to the podium during the ceremony, pre-recorded speeches were played on a large screen following the processional.

In her welcome message, Superintendent Veronica Alfaro told the soon-to-be graduates that they have overcome many challenges and their high school careers “end today.”

“Words cannot express how proud we are of you and your many accomplishments,” Alfaro said. “Never doubt your potential.”

In her salutatory address, Olivia Arce talked about the importance of caring, which she said is “the most important factor in the equation of success.” She shared a story where she had been rude to one of her elders, telling her that she didn’t “give a care.”

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