Pandemic Means Varying Graduation Celebrations for the Class of 2020

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As the school year comes to a close, schools across California are scrambling to find safe ways to celebrate graduates in the age of COVID-19.

Graduating seniors at Overfelt High School in San Jose will be offered a special ceremony. It will be by appointment to respect Santa Clara County’s no parade policy. Each student can bring up to six family members with them.

“They’ll be able to wear their cap and gowns,” Overfelt Principal Vito Chiala said. “Won’t be able to have any kind of a gathering or any kind of a big celebration, but at least we can honor each senior individually.”

Three of the school’s five valedictorians told NBC Bay Area they’re thrilled to have some kind of ceremony.

“I was really happy that the staff still wanted to honor us because we've all worked so hard,” valedictorian Elaine Viloria said.

Contra Costa County is going a step further, saying Tuesday it will allow small graduation gatherings of 25 students but no family.

Chiala said Santa Clara County rules don’t allow that type of celebration, so his school is going for the next best option.

“We have to do something for them,” he said. “We’re going to do as much as we possibly can while still keeping everybody safe.”

While there won’t be any pomp and circumstance for this year’s Overfelt graduates, at least they will have something to remember for reaching one of life’s milestones.

"I really appreciate the staff at Overfelt for always trying to find a way to honor us,” valedictorian Fausthina Dalit said.

Click here to read more about graduation ceremony/diploma pickup guidance in Santa Clara County.

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