Beaumont High School is still deciding about how to celebrate the Class of 2020’s graduation ever since the coronavirus pandemic has shut down large gatherings due to fear of spreading the disease even further.
Graduation is usually held the first week of June.
During Tuesday night’s first board meeting since the school district closed down March 13, Superintendent Terrence Davis talked about some possibilities.
The meeting was televised online and drew 140 people at one point during the two-hour, forty-five minute broadcast.
While Davis was shown in the district board meeting room, the school board trustees were seen in their homes, along with student representative Richard Alonso, who will be a 2020 graduate.
Davis said they asked parents and students to respond to a survey about their graduation preferences.
Approximately 155 parents and 276 students replied to the thought exchange. Davis said it seemed that the consensus is to have some sort of ceremony and not be tied to the actual ceremony on the football field.
Davis said families of graduates would not mind driving the graduates through the local neighborhoods so people can stand in their driveways and cheer them on.
The bottom line is that the graduates want to see each other, Davis said.
Richard Alonso agreed with the superintendent during Tuesday night’s meeting. He said he believes their senior year was “hijacked,’’ but is trying to look on the positive side of things.
He believes that all of the seniors want to be part of the discussion about graduation.
Trustee Janelle Poulter said she wondered if they could create options for the seniors. “I would like to have the seniors surveyed about what’s important to them,” she said.
Only one-third of the graduating students expressed their opinion, Poulter said, and all of the seniors need to have a say in their options.
Davis said that Beaumont High School Principal Jesus Jimenez can guide the school district as to what will work. There was talk of having the principal hand out the diplomas to the students.
Davis said that it will be up the Riverside County Public Health Department and Beaumont Police Department to determine the community celebration because of social distancing requirements of six feet between people.
Beaumont High School’s graduation is usually held in the football stadium, drawing thousands of people.
Richard said he is disappointed in the turn of events regarding graduation. What is important to him and his friends is sharing the moment with each other and showing everyone their achievements.
The class of 2020 had to cancel their prom and many of the ceremonies that accompany being a high school senior.
School board president Susie Lara agreed that they have missed out on special moments they can not get back.
“I think about how sad I would have been if I was a senior in high school,” Lara said. “We’re going to do whatever we can to make it special for you guys.”
Richard said he knows these are uncontrollable circumstances that lead to the cancellation of one of life’s biggest moments for the seniors.
He said he misses the social interaction and jokes that he wanted school to be over, but not like this.
Staff writer Julie Farren may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.