by Richard Lieberman
Graduation season is here, and Ventura city schools celebrated graduating seniors from local high schools, Buena High School, El Camino High School, Ventura High School, Pacific High School and Foothill Technology High School.
Graduating seniors were invited to join their principal and staff at City Hall to have their names read, receive their diploma, and have their photo taken on the steps of City Hall in their caps and gown, all while their family watched from cars below. With 1200 graduating seniors scheduled to walk officials knew the event would need to be held two days. Saturday June 13th and Sunday June 14th were selected.
“Much like our school year, everything changed on a dime, and our teams knew we could wait to see what happen in terms of mass gathering guidelines. We began working on alternative plans immediately in the event traditional graduation would not be possible.” Said Joe Bova, graduation committee coordinator.
Schools had been in the process of planning for pre-recorded virtual ceremonies, per restrictions put in place for large gatherings. That changed on May 27th when a directive from Ventura Count Public Health allowed county schools to plan for a car line graduation ceremony, where students would be able to leave their vehicles for a photo opportunity and to receive their diplomas. The car line ceremonies only allow for the graduate and their families to attend.
The ceremony was filmed by CAPS Media with fixed and remote cameras and will be shared on-line by June 20th.
Dr. Roger Rice, Superintendent of Schools said “We want to thank the many dedicated VUSD employees who have been working tirelessly to make this magical moment a reality, never giving up on our student’s dream of an in-person celebration. A big thank you to our city of Ventura Mayor Matt LaVere, city staff, and the Ventura Police Department. Due to the current mass gathering rules, making this ceremony a reality for our students has been no easy feat, and we appreciate you working with us to make this important milestone happen for our students.”
The front of Ventura City Hall was decorated with colorful shade tents, decorated arches and signs depicting the unique event.
Students exited their vehicles and walked to the steps of City Hall where they were presented with their diplomas. After receiving their diplomas students walked down the steps and were shown how to switch their tassel from right to left signifying this momentous occasion.