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Not all Class of 2020 students welcome virtual commencement ceremonies during coronavirus pandemic

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Not all Class of 2020 students welcome virtual commencement ceremonies during the coronavirus pandemic, which has created a need for social distancing as the highly contagious respiratory illness continues to kill Floridians.

Ronniecia Brown, a Hallandale High School graduate and a Student Government Association president, said she asked Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie to allow her school to have a commencement ceremony.

Jeannah Ford, a graduate of Nova High School in Davie, said she is preparing to go to the University of Central Florida. She said she strongly agrees with Brown because the rite of passage is so important.

“Graduation is a big event for our parents," Ford said. "When we grow up, we are going to tell our kids we didn’t graduate high school. Like we just got our diploma in the mail. That is really sad.”

Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvahlo said that although his district is also adopting virtual commencement ceremonies, they are open to planning a ceremony in person when it’s appropriate.

“The Class of 2020, like those who came before them, and those who will follow, deserve every bit of pomp and circumstance a traditional commencement provides,” Carvalho said.

Amanda Milian, a SLAM Miami graduate, said she can’t wait.

“I will be so happy,” Milian said.

PLANS IN MIAMI-DADE

The graduating senior’s picture will be displayed as their name is called during the virtual ceremonies.

• Week of April 27 – May 1: College and athletic scholarships recipients

• Week of May 4 – 8: Military and first-generation grads or other outstanding achievements, including exemplary community service

• Week of May 11 – 15: Top 10 percent of graduates and Silver Knight award nominees

• Monday, May 18 & Tuesday, May 19 – Recognition of all seniors

• Wednesday, May 20 – Community-wide Senior Recognition Day