Celebrating 2020 Charter Grads V

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drive-in movie screen

From surprise ceremonies to bringing your horse to celebrate to a drive-in movie graduation theme, charter school students are making memories that will last a lifetime. In this series, we share how 2020 graduates are celebrating these special moments outside the norm.

Charter School Throws Surprise Graduation

A graduation ceremony for 54 high school seniors at University Prep Charter School for Young Men in New York turned out to be sooner than they expected. The seniors reported to school to pick up their caps and gowns, and they were surprised with a celebration. The school’s CEO teamed up with different black-owned businesses to host the students’ very special send-off. A videographer was on-site to capture the memories in a video. Each senior took a photo in their cap and gown and had the opportunity to participate in a unique photo session with special effects.

A Graduation—Drive-In Movie Style

Orcutt Academy High School in California transformed their field to reflect a drive-in movie style graduation for students. A jumbo screen was in the front of the field where families parked on the grass. Many vehicles had class of 2020 decorations. Teachers greeted the cars at the entrance with signs celebrating the graduates and the school showed a video which included speeches and highlights from the school year.

Students Get Creative During Graduation

 The threat of thunderstorms didn’t stop Joseph Charter School in Oregon from holding their graduation on the school’s football field. Some students found unique ways to make an entrance. For example, one student rode her horse across the field. Another student had a stagecoach, while others entered in a variety of vehicles. As students showed their creativity and leadership on the field, their principal reminded them: they are the leaders of the decade. She continued to encourage them to “make the changes in the social, cultural, and environment ways that we need to make this world a better place.”


Congratulations to all our future leaders and changemakers—the class of 2020.


Brittnee Exum is the manager of marketing and communications at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

This post is part of an ongoing series to celebrate high school seniors’ graduation stories from charter schools across the country, despite pandemic-related school closures. Kudos to students and schools for their accomplishments and finding innovative ways to celebrate.