These have been strange times for us all. This past weekend, another twist — the innovative graduations of Ventura’s five high schools: Buena High School, Ventura High School, El Camino High School, Pacific High School and Foothill Technology High School. It worked simply and smoothly. Graduates and their families drove along Poli Street. Each car stopped in front of City Hall. Each graduate got out and accepted their diploma on the steps of City Hall. Each family cheered, celebrating a momentous occasion in any time. A page turned, new pages waiting to be written.
Adaptability — and grace in the face of that requirement — has been the keyword on so many fronts. And the High School Class of 2020 has exhibited that adaptability and grace in shining fashion; first in a disrupted year, then in a disrupted graduation.
The young, they can be no less wise and inspirational.
Below, a glimpse at the kind of person who quietly (or not so quietly) accepted their diploma this past weekend. And, despite the strangeness and difficulties, saw the (funny) silver lining.
Thank you Isaac Wagar, and heartfelt congratulations on your graduation from El Camino High School.
And heartfelt congratulations to all our high school graduates. We are proud of you.
We know you will make our community — and the world — a better place.
How did this graduation feel? What was the same, and what was different?
As a student at El Camino High- a nontraditional, independent study high school where one only meets with their teacher bi-weekly, this overall transition into virtual learning was less a task for us students than it was for those at traditional high schools.
The overall process of this graduation seems more personalized, as if the teachers and faculty at the Ventura Unified School District sincerely feel bad that we worked four strenuous years with no official graduation ceremony. However, I feel that the faculty and staff have truly outdone themselves, making each graduating senior feel like they have earned it, by handing out all the small things to commemorate us seniors- the yard signs, bumper stickers, and the walk down City Hall. To me, and many of my peers, this year’s graduation was better than years past. As a younger sibling who had to sit through both of my older sisters’ graduations- one from Ventura High and the other from El Camino- I was not looking forward to sitting for hours in the hot sun while we waited for my sisters’ names to be called. What was different about my graduation was the swiftness- it took a mere 3-5 minutes from getting out of the car, to walking down the “Grad Walk of Fame”, getting our diploma, and getting back into the car. I don’t know about you but I much rather prefer a 3-5 minute graduation than a 3-5 hour one.
How do you think this current situation will make you stronger?
The first day of my freshman year was the first day I began to think about my high school graduation. One could say I had “senioritis” the first day of high school. I constantly would find myself thinking that one day I would walk across the stage as I hear my name called and my family would all be there to see this grand achievement of mine. Three quarters through my final year of high school, I got the news that we would be switching to completely remote learning, no longer seeing my friends or teacher daily. I was mildly upset, but I never thought that there would be no traditional graduation ceremony for us hard working seniors. I believe by not having a traditional graduation ceremony I learned a very valuable lesson. Many things in life may not work out how I want them to, however in the end, they may turn out better.