High schools revert to mostly traditional graduation ceremonies

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By Collin Breaux

While the Class of 2020 may not have enjoyed the usual group graduation ceremony, the story will be markedly different for the Class of 2021.

Traditional graduation ceremonies will take place at high schools across Orange County this year, but still with some twists and turns around the time of the pandemic.

San Clemente High School, Dana Hills High School, and San Juan Hills High School will host in-person ceremonies on June 3, with two sessions at each school to account for social distancing. Participation will be limited to four guests per graduate.

Last year, all three schools held drive-through ceremonies where students arrived individually in a vehicle to receive their diplomas. This year, they will start crossing the stage again.

San Clemente principal Chris Carter said the school wanted to provide as normal an event as possible for senior graduates.

“This class had to sacrifice so much,” Carter said.

Dana Hills principal Brad Baker said his school has come a long way to deliver a face-to-face ceremony.

“We are extremely excited to have this opportunity to honor our elders,” said Baker.

The event will be a special opportunity to celebrate student achievement and resilience, Baker added.

Students at school during the COVID-19 pandemic went from an online-only learning program to a hybrid program incorporating on-campus classes back to an almost full week program. Throughout these changes, students have dealt with mental health issues, Baker said.

“As a community, we are grateful and excited to celebrate the class of 2021,” said Baker.

Dana Hills High’s graduation ceremony will be televised live.

San Juan Hills principal Manoj Mahindrakar said it was good to come back to a ceremony in person and there was a palpable sense of appreciation as the school hosted other end-of-year events. year.

“It is all of us who are celebrating the journey of the K-12,” said Mahindrakar.

Both ceremonies will take place at 1:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. for San Clemente High, and 1 and 4 p.m. for Dana Hills High and San Juan Hills High. State health guidelines for wearing masks will be in place.

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the town editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be contacted by email at [email protected]media.com.

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