Reflecting the current times, a world engulfed in the coronavirus, South Pasadena Unified School District campuses will work through the pandemic by hosting a series of drive-through promotions/graduations and parades in the coming days.
The SPUSD provided the following information through its five schools to honor graduating seniors at South Pasadena High along with those being promoted to the next level of their education, including the local middle school, Arroyo Vista, Marengo and Monterey Hills elementary.
Celebrating major milestones like graduations and promotions have been put on hold in the traditional sense, forcing schools like those in South Pasadena, to change their way due to the COVID-19.
The following is how they will be doing it:
South Pasadena High School
On June 3 at 6 p.m., the school will host its drive-through event with cars arriving from the west (the Diamond Avenue side of the campus) to Lyndon Street and entering the parking lot through the Lyndon gate.
“There will be no spectators or parking in the school lot,” said SPHS Principal Janet Anderson in a message to families.
According to Los Angeles County guidelines, members of the same household will be allowed in one fully enclosed vehicle, and “everyone over two years old in that car must wear a mask,” explained Anderson, noting there will be no exiting the cars. Grads will receive a symbolic diploma cover.
“This will be exciting for all of us!” said Anderson. “You will turn right out of the parking lot in order to keep the flow going.”
A virtual part of the ceremony will follow the drive-through and can be viewed at or after 8 p.m. on YouTube. A link will be sent to families. In her message, Anderson said the video “will include baccalaureate inspirational speeches and a performance, graduation speeches, the conferring of diplomas, and many photos representing the SPHS Class of 2020!”
From June 1-4, explained Anderson, the “stately sign that is usually on the back of the graduation platform (on the football field) will be installed on the auditorium steps. This will be an opportunity for families to stage graduation photos with students in caps and gowns or an outfit of your choice. When planning your visit to school for your family’s photo op, do not plan to couple it with the drive-through graduation. There will be no allowance for getting in and out of cars.”
To honor the system, Anderson stressed that masks and social distancing must be practiced, saying: “Masks may only be removed for the photo itself.”
South Pasadena Middle School
A drive-though promotion in the SPMS parking lot is scheduled for June 1 from 3-5 p.m. “We’re excited to add this celebration for our 8th graders,” reads the statement.
Families are encouraged to approach via Oak Street turn on to Fair Oaks and into the SPMS parking lot. Our staff will direct you once you get close to the SPMS parking lot. We will be using the entire parking lot for this event.
An 8th grade promotion video and viewing party is slated for June 1. Teachers, students and parents are working to develop a promotion video to honor 8th graders.
It will include student speeches, musical performances, awards and a tribute to the 385 8th graders being promoted. The video will be released at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 1.
Videos and photos will be shared on Instagram. “We encourage students to set up their own watch parties on zoom or Google meets to share the time and experience,” reads a statement from the school. “Please, organize your watch party with family and friends now.”
Arroyo Vista Elementary School
Monday, June 1 5-7 p.m. – Drive by car parade in front of Arroyo Vista School. Teachers, the AV mascot Whiskers, and administrators cheering and waving, and passing out packets with a yearbook, t-shirt, and promotion certificate.
Tuesday, June 2, 11 a.m. – Live Zoom celebration for all 5th grade students and their families. An End of the Year Memories video, created by our wonderful PTA Promotion Committee volunteers. The Video will celebrate our 5th graders in a way that best honors their accomplishments and will be a keepsake for years to come.
Wednesday, June 3, 11 a.m. – Final Google Hangout with homerooms. Each class will be watching a picture slideshow and wrapping up the school year.
Marengo Elementary School
Following social distancing protocols, Marengo Elementary School plans to honor the educational accomplishments of 5th graders moving onto middle school through a virtual promotional ceremony.
Marengo students have received promotion yard signs, t-shirts, and yearbooks and, according to Patricia Cheadle, Marengo’s Principal, the school announced it will hold a Zoom promotion on Tuesday, June 2, at 9 a.m. with 5th grade teachers Mrs. Rodriguez-Wong and Mr. Aschieris and again at 10 a.m. with teachers Mrs. Orozco, Ms. Pittman and Mrs. Webb. The ceremony will feature music, student council speeches, and recorded messages.
Tuesday, June 2nd
Monterey Hills Elementary School
A virtual celebration and “drive by” with cheering teachers and administrators will be held at Monterey Hills Elementary School/ on June 1 to simulate what students would have experienced had they been able to gather.
Teachers will meet with students virtually to share a pre-recorded ceremony. Addresses from Principal Narro, Assistant Principal Lopez, and 5th Grade teachers: Mrs. Detterich, Ms. Freitas, Mr. Hall, Mr. Millar, and Mrs. Tull open the ceremony.
“Each student shared a self-photo, holding a poster board, that described a favorite school memory, which will be shown as an iMovie,” reads a statement from the school. “Families will be treated to a slide show, watching their children grow, as captured through class pictures from kindergarten to 5th grade. A video was made of a number of staff members singing to the 5th graders as part of the celebration.”
In addition, students and their families “will participate in a curated drive-by, with teachers and staff cheering them forward, as they drive up Via del Rey in front of Monterey Hills School,” reads the statement. “The drive-by will include the fifth grade teachers and other staff members holding signs of congratulations as cars drive by the decorated street.”
The drive-by portion of the promotion at Monterey Hills will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 11 a.m. on June 1. Each class will come by in 30-minute increments.