Seniors bid farewell to SPHS in drive-through and livestream graduation ceremonies

Story by Sofia Alva
Associate Sports Editor

Photo by Ella Jayasekera
Associate Photo Editor

SPHS seniors donned traditional caps and gowns to receive their diplomas in a drive-through graduation ceremony on Wednesday, June 3. The festive event continued virtually via a YouTube livestream which featured speeches, performances, and slideshows showcasing the graduating Class of 2020. 

Principal Janet Anderson congratulated seniors as she handed out diplomas to them in the vehicular procession in the SPHS parking lot at 6:00 p.m. Despite being different from the traditional graduation festivities, seniors were still able to celebrate the important milestone with their families.

“I am so thankful for how adaptable the staff managed to be,” ASB Commissioner General Jewel Ngyuen said. “Of course I am upset we did not have a traditional graduation but they put in so much effort to give us something, and I honestly could not be more grateful.”

ASB and SPHS staff also worked to put together a livestream year-end video, which began at 8:00 p.m. with senior Barnett Yang playing the national anthem on violin. The night’s various speakers and performers paid their respects to the Class of 2020 on the auditorium steps in front of the traditional wooden graduation sign, where seniors were able to pose for photos with their families earlier in the week.

Senior Olivia Koutsky delivered a speech titled “Thinking Bee” to her peers, invoking her high school memories in light of departing SPHS for the next chapter in her life. Fellow graduate Kenneth Schultz spoke next about the unique and unfortunate situation the seniors were put in due to the coronavirus, which forced them to miss traditional high school experiences like Prom, the annual Yosemite trip, and in-person graduation.  

Cole Fox, Lila Dworsky-Hickey, and Ellie Washburn sang the country classic “A Life That’s Good” by Nashville Cast to remark on the bittersweet moment.

Anderson, members of the South Pasadena School Board, and SPUSD Superintendent Geoff Yantz also participated in the online commencement, congratulating the 311 seniors and offering them some final words of advice.

The virtual ceremony concluded with the SPHS Alma Mater and slideshows featuring seniors receiving their diplomas as well as memories from the 2019-2020 school year. The graduates were also honored in Senior Awards Night on Tuesday, June 2, and will close out the year-end festivities with a final drive-through to pick up awards and other memorabilia on Thursday, June 4. 

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