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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

University High School graduates participate in socially distant ceremony

Even amid a global pandemic, the Class of 2020 was able to celebrate their achievements with some changes to the traditional ceremony.

WACO, Texas — It is safe to say that COVID-19 has proven the graduating class of 2020 to be resilient.

That is just how seniors at University High School in Waco were described as got their diplomas Friday amid a national pandemic. Waco Independent School District rolled out new safety measures to make sure graduates and families were safe. It was a graduation that almost did not happen. 

"I’m happy it did you know. I really wanted my parents to be here. When they told me it would just be me, I said mom what is the point in going," Daniel Veracruz said. 

The coronavirus nearly canceled the ceremony that the 400 graduates had been working towards for 12 years. But thanks to a petition calling for the Waco ISD to allow guest to attend, and a team of understanding administrators, students were able to walk across the stage at the Waco ISD stadium to receive their diploma. 

Everyone in attendance had to wear masks. Each member of the class of 2020 were only able to bring two guests to the ceremony. 

"We have 14 nurses on staff. Guests will be screened for 11 questions of symptoms of COVID-19 and they will have their temperatures checked," Rhiannon Settles, Waco ISD Health Service Coordinator, said. 

Graduates on the field had to be spread six feet apart, and family in the stands were sitting in groups of two. Despite the restrictions graduates said nothing could take away from the joy of their day. 

“It felt awesome to graduate,” Veracruz said. “I'm the first in my family to do it, so it shows you can do it no matter the circumstance."

Waco High School seniors will graduate Saturday, May 30, at 10 a.m. at the Waco ISD stadium. 

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