Despite Pandemic, Class of 2020 has Grad Ceremony

Leila Saidane

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RHS seniors had the opportunity to walk across one of three stages set up for graduation at Eagle Stadium. RISD administrators came up with a plan for the ceremony while still following Texas pandemic requirements for events. Each stage had a camera crew, photographer and announcers to record and document each student’s walk. Photo credit: Yessi Lipscomb

Leila Saidane

On a clear 97 degree day, RHS seniors had the opportunity to walk across one of three stages set up for graduation at Eagle Stadium.

RISD administrators came up with a plan for the ceremony while still following Texas pandemic requirements for events. Each stage had a camera crew, photographer and announcers to record and document each student’s walk.

“I was relieved we could give students a graduation,” Principal Chris Choat said. “For a week or so we didn’t know if we could do anything. Knowing that we were going to be able to see graduates in person, and that their families would be involved, was a huge relief to us.”

Before walking across the stage, seniors chose either a family member or administrator to hand them their diploma. Twins Henry and Elizabeth Patton decided to hand each other theirs.

“It was different graduating with Corona and everything, but it was worth it knowing we had a ceremony,” Elizabeth Patton said.

While the district was able to put a graduation ceremony together, most other senior events were cancelled.

“It’s been fun to watch other seniors support and rally around each other,” said graduating senior Chube Uche. “Even though we didn’t get to have the ending we wanted, it’s great we get to have this graduation in person.”

Senior Mohammad Saleem said that he’s been looking forward to graduation for 12 years, and he’s glad that the event took place.

“Looking around and seeing the way everyone’s come together and seeing a way to make this work in this situation, it means a lot,” he said. “It’s still a really momentous occasion.”