Graduates get to walk stage, outdoors, at local high school

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – It's a time that students look forward to throughout their entire high school careers, walking across the stage to receive their diplomas. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a traditional graduation ceremony was out of the question for seniors at Somerset Academy Charter High School.

But who needs an indoor graduation when you can have a stage outside of the school along with a drive-thru ceremony for friends and family? For Somerset seniors, there’s was a graduation that won’t be forgotten.

Somerset Academy's principal Kerri Ann Rodriguez promised her Stallions, the school's mascot and the moniker of Somerset students, that they would have a chance to walk across a stage, no matter where it was.

“Our 115 seniors missed out on a lot of their activities and so it was important to us to make sure that they had the opportunity to walk across the stage," said Rodriguez.

Following month of preparations, the stage was built in front of the school, and in just two days, it became a reality for the class of 2020.

Seniors donned their caps and gowns and heard their names called out. They walked across the stage with pride, diplomas in hand and masks on.

Parents and family were able to watch from their cars as they drove through the driveway of the school and past the stage.

“It made me feel like it's a real graduation, I know other schools are doing it through Zoom and it's not the same. Here I’m actually walking the stage, having my name called, its relieving," Senior Class President Abriana Zubizarreta said.

Regardless of the venue, it was an experience filled with emotions for both parents and children.

“Pride, happiness, I never thought my high-school experience would be as incredible as it was with the opportunities I was given, so I am extremely proud to represent," Amari Jenkins, the senior salutatorian, said.

More drive-thru ceremonies were scheduled throughout the day at Somerset Academy Charter High.

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