Celebrating 2020 Charter Grads IV

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Charter schools are sending off their high school seniors in a way to remember despite the coronavirus pandemic. Many educators echo the same sentiment—this was not the original plan for graduation, but they continue to find meaningful ways to celebrate their students. In this series, we will highlight different ways charter schools are recognizing the class of 2020.

High School Seniors Graduate on Racetrack

How many of us can say we graduated high school on a racetrack? Well, the senior class at PALM Charter School in South Carolina can. School leaders rented the Myrtle Beach Speedway to celebrate students for graduation. The school’s curriculum focuses on skills training and career preparation for the motorsports industry, making the special ceremony a natural fit for the grads. Students rode around the racetrack, received their diplomas, and additional awards. The class of 2020 united in support and celebration of their fellow grad, Jacob Welsh, who received a special honor during the ceremony for his strength and perseverance after a life-threatening car accident.

Charter School Celebrates First Graduating Seniors

Congrats to KIPP Columbus in Ohio as they celebrate their first graduating class. Students arrived at the school to receive their diplomas and take photos in their caps and gowns, plus the school sent students home with a surprise gift. Every single grad was gifted a Chromebook donated by a manufacturing business. The cherry on top? Each graduate has been accepted into a college. The school was also named one of the recipients of the first-ever Above and Beyond Awards earlier this year from the National Alliance.

Grads on the Red-Carpet

Like the schools above, East Central High School in Texas did not let the pandemic stop them from honoring their high school seniors. The school put on a drive-thru celebration to help send off their graduates in style. The “parade of graduates” included several decorated vehicles driving through the parking lot and students walking across a red carpet to accept their diploma. As a keepsake, each graduate will receive a video of the ceremony.


Kudos to all 2020 graduates, parents, educators, and mentors who provided them with support to push through.


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.