Clearwater Central Catholic High School seniors accept diplomas at unique, socially distant graduation

After four years of hard work, many seniors have been forced to experience their graduation virtually as leaders and educators take precautions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, for the graduates at Clearwater Central Catholic High School, they crossed the stage Saturday and accepted their diplomas in person.

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The high school’s staff told Fox 13 on Saturday that they were committed to giving their seniors a safe and memorable graduation.

"They are deserving of this,” said Jim Deputy, the school’s principal. “They've had so many things canceled. This was the day they were supposed to graduate at Ruth Eckerd Hall, so we felt no matter what, we had to keep the graduation on this day to give them something to look forward to.”

With their cars decorated in celebration, students made their way to the stage. Graduates were asked to stay in their cars with their families and drive to the back of the school’s parking lot. Once they made it to the front, students were able to leave their cars and accept their diploma with their families getting a front-row seat. 

"You look forward to it for four years, you watch everyone else do it, so it's cool to actually get yourself to go up there and do it,” said Hunter Johnson, a CCC graduate. 

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For CCC’s class of 2020, they were able to still experience all the pomp and circumstance they earned through their high school years, surrounded by family friends and teachers cheering them on from a distance.

"I'm really thankful that they took the opportunity to make this possible with what's going on right now, so I'm really thankful,” said Katia Hernandez, a CCC graduate. 

While graduates were able to accept their diplomas in person, speeches were all done virtually.