This year, Rialto Unified high schools celebrated graduation in a novel fashion due to national and local restrictions put on large gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, Rialto Unified hosts their graduations at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California. However, recently enacted laws meant to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus prevented schools from celebrating their graduating seniors in a proper and grand fashion. Students were left clueless as to whether or not a graduation ceremony would be held.
On May 20, 2020, Superintendent Dr. Avila released a newsletter detailing drive-through graduations for Carter High, Eisenhower High, Milor High, and Rialto High. The ceremony was planned to take place through June 2nd and 3rd from 12 to 7 pm. Plans, however, were once again subject to abrupt change when protests as part of the Black Lives Matter movement were organized across the nation, sparked by the murder of George Floyd. The City of Rialto mandated a 6 p.m. curfew on June 2nd and Rialto schools were forced to advance their ceremonies to earlier on in the day.
Despite the unexpected changes, graduating seniors and their families arrived at their schools with high spirits. Painted cars, embellished caps, and bountiful sashes and cords – students celebrated their last moments in high school with their principles, teachers, and counselors as they crossed the stage and turned their tassels.
Although this year’s seniors weren’t able to celebrate their graduation in the way they had envisioned since they were young, they made do with the current circumstances and ended their high school careers with a roar.
Article written by Kenny Hua, Rialto High School Class of 2020 valedictorian.