Pitbull’s graduating class gets a red carpet send off

School that rapper founded has different kind of ceremony in times of COVID-19

MIAMI, Fla. – There wasn’t a stage to walk across, there was a red carpet. It wasn’t a traditional graduation ceremony, but it is something that the class of 2020 from Miami’s SLAM (Sports Leadership and Management) Charter High School will remember for the rest of their lives.

The school, whose founder and ambassador is Miami rapper Pitbull, opened in 2013 on NW 12th Avenue in the city's Little Havana neighborhood. It's housed in a seven story, state-of-the-the art facility with a penthouse gymnasium overlooking Miami's downtown and Marlins Ballpark.

This year’s graduating class is uniquely special to the school – when it was first built, they were the first sixth graders to attend. They are known around campus as the OGs or the “originals” to staff and administration.

On Thursday, the pomp and circumstance surrounding the seniors was a sign of the times when regular graduations are not being held because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of filing into an auditorium for their graduation, seniors from SLAM were part of a drive-thru ceremony where they decked out their cars and walked a red carpet.

"The fact that they put this together, and all the teachers all the administration were here to celebrate us, it means so much to me," senior Amanda Milian said.

Rey Breto the principal of SLAM said: "We do want to show how much we appreciate what they’ve done on being a part of building of what slam is today.”

Pitbull, Mr. 305, could not make Thursday's senior parade, but he made sure he enclosed a letter and gave each student a cell phone so that they would be able to stay connected during this unique time.

“This made us feel special,” senior Jorge Blanco said. “We are going to look back at it and it’s going to be something, for sure, that will be in our memory for the rest of our lives.”

About the Authors:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.