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A roundup of CTA members’ efforts to meet COVID-related challenges while celebrating the students and Class of 2020

COVID Crisis Makes for Creative Commencements

Collaboration during the pandemic ensures 2020 seniors will enjoy a safe ceremony

In Riverside County, educators and administrators have worked hard to honor the efforts of their students and support their achievements in different and creative ways.

Great Oak High School valedictorian Amika Saito celebrates the honor at home with her parents

When it became clear that schools across the state would be shuttered through at least the end of the 2020 school year, district representatives and educators immediately went to work to ensure a send-off worthy of their graduating class. At Great Oak High School (GOHS) in Temecula, former English teacher and current principal Dr. Amber Lane joined her team to personally deliver news of student Emika Saito’s achievement as valedictorian of the 2020 graduating class. Temecula Valley Unified School District also requested volunteers for graduation ceremonies that would adhere to social distancing guidelines while creating a meaningful memory for them.

Congratulating a valedictorian-at a distance!

Several hurdles were cleared in order to make the ceremony a safe environment for students and loved ones. Temecula graduates were given appointments to the recorded ceremonies at their school stadiums over multiple days in May-to limit crowd size. (Everyone will be able to see the commencements on local television in June) Upon arrival, they were quickly directed to lines according to last name, then sent to the appropriate staging area, and finally, their name was announced by loudspeaker as they crossed over one of several platforms to receive their diploma.

Parents and educators assisted students as they moved around the field and took pictures in front of 2020-themed backdrops. Family members have shown great resilience throughout the pandemic, too; helping students through these important rites of passage while working from home and caring for others has not been easy.

For the many challenges they have faced this year, graduating seniors deserve every measure of credit. CTA congratulates and celebrates you; the patient and flexible Class of 2020!


NBA Gets in the Game for Graduates

Watch the video of Golden State Warriors congratulating and acknowledging how the Class of 2020 has faced adversity in their final year of study

Stephen Curry and the Warriors share a message about facing adversity with the Class of 2020


Oakland District Reaches Out to Support its Seniors During COVID-19 Crisis

On the district’s final day of school, read how wellness checks and grading policies by educators and administrators helped Oakland bridge the “Teacher-student divide” during the pandemic


Educators Bring Celebration to San Jacinto Seniors

Purchasing and placing signs in every Senior yard was a labor of love for San Jacinto Teachers Association volunteers

For the seventy San Jacinto Teachers Association (SJTA) members who participated, the delivery of Graduation signs and gifts to every graduating senior provided an opportunity for educators to interact with and celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2020.

On Wednesday morning, SJTA members, led by President Darla Gordon, met with member volunteers to organize the distribution of hundreds of signs to graduates of two local schools; San Jacinto High School and Mountain Heights High School.

Since the 200 Mountain Heights students will receive their signs and gifts at a social distance celebration in June, the day’s focus was on the remaining signs to be delivered to 535 San Jacinto High School Students. SJTA members (with some family members in support) divided the signs and took lists of seniors they would visit and congratulate-all while social distancing. By 10:30 AM, every sign was on its way to a graduating senior. 

“This is a great way to end our week!  Thank you Darla for your effective leadership and the SJTA TEAM who helped organize this event. It was truly a pleasure to see our SJUSD students smile as we delivered each sign.  I was even given a blessing by one of the families as I drove away.” -Teacher Alma Lomeli

For teachers doing the drop-offs, sign delivery quickly became a family affair

President Gordon was pleased with the community response to SJTA’s efforts; “The San Jacinto students and families were excited to see their teachers. We are so proud of SJTA members for spreading the love to our students!”

At the door, student and parent receive their sign

Each student also received a gift bag from the San Jacinto Teachers Association


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