Celebrating 2020 Charter Grads II

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jet ski

With pandemic-related closures changing the way schools operate, graduation looks different across all schools in the nation. From virtual celebrations to car parades—schools are finding a way to commemorate student’s dedication throughout the years. In an online commencement address to the 2020 graduating class, former President Barack Obama told students “…your graduation marks your passage into adulthood.”

In this series, we will share how high school seniors at charter school across the country are celebrating this monumental moment in their lives.

A Graduation to Remember

The high school seniors at Somerset Island Prep in Florida graduated in style—on jet skis! Thanks to a local business that allowed the students to use their jet skis to help celebrate this milestone, the students received lessons prior to their big day and then jet skied in front of Key West’s Southernmost House wearing their gowns and masks—where the principal stood on the dock to hand out their diplomas.

Drive up—Grab your Diploma

Students at Carolina International School in North Carolina participated in a drive-thru graduation ceremony. Staying close to tradition, the students listened to speeches from the valedictorian, salutatorian, and keynote speaker—while also following social distancing guidelines. The high school seniors then hopped out of vehicles and joined a line one at a time to receive their diplomas. Each graduate received a handmade mask to celebrate this moment.

At Oregon Trail Academy, school leaders are planning a two-part celebration. Students will participate in a drive-thru ceremony in the afternoon and watch the pre-recorded portion in the evening. The virtual celebration will include speeches from the valedictorian, salutatorian, and commencement speaker. It will also include words of wisdom from the graduates and photos.

Kudos to the schools above for their creativity and determination to help their students celebrate a new chapter!


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.