In unusual times when drive-thru and virtual graduations are the norm, other measures to celebrate the Class of 2020 are popping up in the community.
Moving away from traditional in-person ceremonies due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, South Pasadena schools closed out the school year with a parade of vehicles, many decorated with signs and balloons, rolling past enthusiastic faculty members, family, friends and well wishers, congratulating the accomplishments of smiling students.
The excitement was followed by digital ceremonies full of speeches, musical performances and, in the case of high school, the awarding of diplomas.
Streets throughout the city were filled with congratulatory signs, paying tribute to those departing 5th grade for the middle school, hundreds promoted from SPMS after 8th grade, and the recognition of those graduating from South Pasadena High.
Neighbors expressed their support in unique ways, perhaps no better than residents on Diamond Avenue in town, where the names of students moving to the next major grade level or leaving South Pasadena High as a graduate – along with college grads – were recognized on a banner over the street. Those tackling Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten even made the list.
On it are the names of those making the leap, including: Alex Ninomiya, SPMS; Amelia Duke, Pre-K; Byron Neu, SPHS; Christina Valdivia-Gatmaitan, UCSB; Dane Leddy, CSLA; Daniella Rodriquez, SPMS; Finn Hilton, kindergarten; Iris Barerra, SPMS; Madeline Ramirez, SPMS; Tim Wagner, APU; Timoteo, Pre-K.
Just a few weeks ago, local school district and high school administrators were concerned promotions and a SPHS graduation like those exhibited this year would take place due to COVID-19 precautions, but the situation changed with clearance from county health officials. With strict protocols and safety guidelines observed, schools in the district successfully pulled off end of the academic year activities with what seemed precision.
“Please join me in saluting our SPHS graduating class of 2020. Our seniors are moving on from high school with a foundation to become active participants in the global community and to reach their full potential,” said Superintendent Geoff Yantz in a statement. “Congratulations to the unforgettable class of 2020! It is the energy, ideas, and compassion shown by our young people that keep us encouraged and looking forward to a promising future.”