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North High holds graduation, 2020 style

July 29, 2020
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The seniors at North Fort Myers High School were dreaming of the day they would walk the aisle and be handed their diplomas by the principal, throw their caps in the air and start their journey into adulthood.

Due to the pandemic, they instead received their diplomas via their automobiles. While it was still great to be recognized for this wonderful achievement, it certainly wasn't the same.

Last Monday evening, hundreds of graduates dodged the downpours to get recognition the best way they could under the circumstances, with students and parents coming in throughout the evening to receive diplomas and have a photo op with loved ones and principal Debbie Diggs.

Schools throughout Lee County held similar graduation ceremonies this past week, many of them held last Tuesday morning.

Diggs said despite everything, about 330 seniors came through to get their diplomas, a number she called amazing.

"The kids were super excited. We laid out the red carpet and the parents got dressed up and they took pictures," Diggs said. "People were so thankful. They were so glad they got the opportunity."

Diggs said she got great feedback from parents via e-mail, saying how glad they were that there was a graduation ceremony.

Diggs wasn't sure many of them would attend, due to the weather and the fact that many may have moved on, graduation ceremony or not. She also was not certain how many would opt for photos and not just the drive-thu portion.

"We had a few do that, but more chose to get out of their cars and take pictures," Diggs said.

Everything happened in the front entrance, with pictures being taken in front of the auditorium. The first hour (from 4 to 5 p.m.) was devoted to graduates who just wanted to get their diplomas at the parent pick-up and go. Diggs, in cap and gown, handed them their diplomas.

From 5 to 8 p.m., the graduates entered, cars in two lines of five. The graduates would get out, socially distanced. They would then walk the red carpet with their parents to the auditorium where the pictures were taken.

"We would do elbow bumps because we couldn't shake hands. I handed them their diploma and they took their picture." Diggs said.

They even did the tassel flip and an individual cap toss.

"Some of the kids were just over it and their parents made them come. The parents were so appreciative to have those photo opps. A lot of the kids also said they missed school so much. For them, it was closure, having some kind of an ending," Diggs said. "They left school for spring break and never came back."

 
 

 

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