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Banquete holds unusual indoor graduation ceremony

Posted at 8:19 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 00:35:33-04

Many school districts have delayed their high-school graduations, or even transitioned to an outdoor or online ceremony because of COVID-19.

Banquete High School, however, didn't want to delay its ceremony.

The district held its graduation in the high school's gymnasium for their 55 graduating seniors on Thursday evening. This graduation was unconventional though — and one that staff has been planning for the past few weeks.

Instead of holding graduation at a nearby venue, the district held the graduation in the high school’s gymnasium. Extra safety measures were put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, seniors were allowed to invite up to five family members. When they entered the school, everyone’s temperatures were checked and they were given a mask and gloves to wear.

Families stood 6 feet apart and socially distanced in a common area before entering the gymnasium. Each graduate and their family cycled through the gym one-by-one. The graduate walked across stage while his or her family watched from half court.

It wasn’t your typical graduation, but the graduates said the experience made it that much more special.

“It'll definitely be something to remember,” said Audrey Villarreal, a graduating senior. “I mean, how can you forget this?"

“A year ago, I would've imagined more family, more friends, everyone being there and watching each other walk across stage,” said Isabel Gonzalez, another graduating senior. “I think for what we had, our school did the best they could, and they really made it memorable.”

When asked why the district didn’t postpone the graduated, Rusty Miller, the high school’s assistant principal said, “We have a couple young men who are going into the military and they’re leaving in June, and we didn’t want anybody to be left out.”

“It’s just one of those things in life where you go through struggles and you figure out a way to adapt and get it done,” said Miller. “And we feel like we do that here. We feel like we get it done.”