La Feria News

La Feria graduation proves to be a huge success despite COVID-19 modifications

The La Feria High School Class of 2020 graduated on May 29 at Lion Stadium. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony had to be slightly modified in order to follow social distancing guidelines. Photos: Courtesy of LFISD

By BILLY WATSON
LFN

LA FERIA – Like many high schools across the Rio Grande Valley, La Feria High School conducted its 2020 graduation ceremonies on May 29 with strict guidelines concerning COVID-19 and social distancing.

There were some changes made as well. Both sides of the stands were open and only two attendees per graduate were allowed. Seating on the field was also within social distancing guidelines, and the stage was centered facing the highway rather than traditionally facing the home bleachers.

And, of course, the graduates wore masks or some sort of face coverings.

Francisco Martinez, president of the student council and the superintendent’s student advisory council as well as a top 25 percent graduate, said this year’s graduation did indeed feel different, but he was very grateful for the job the school did in giving the Class of 2020 a live, in person graduation.

“I was so ready to be overwhelmed with the feeling of graduating with the whole community of La Feria at the ceremony with the band as well,” Martinez said, “but there was a capacity for the stadium to uphold due to social distancing. I’m still in shock, though. Even through these unprecedented times, our school district still managed to put a ceremony for us together and I’m very grateful that our school took a risk to give us something that we all have been working very hard for.”

The graduation went on even without a rehearsal for the graduates.
Brianna Valdez, who was ranked fourth in her class, said that although there was not a practice held, the result was still clean.

“I’d say it still turned out great,” Valdez said. “I know I speak for many when I say that graduation is a milestone that most people hope to experience. So the fact that the faculty went the extra mile to ensure that seniors still got their special moment speaks volumes.”

Upon arrival at Lion Stadium, students were screened for symptoms of COVID-19. Once they passed, the students were sent to designated classrooms and waited for instructions to follow. Valdez said groups of five were set in each classroom, all keeping at least six feet apart until the ceremony began.

Although the ceremony was not held in its traditional form, Valdez said it still meant a lot to walk across the stage and receive her diploma.

“I’m sure the moment will be told for years to come,” Valdez said.

Some schools in the Valley did not hold their ceremonies in person this school year. Harlingen CISD, for example, held all four of its high school graduations entirely through virtual media.

Martinez, who was also secretary of the National Honor Society, was grateful for the ceremony to be in-person.

“I understand that there were many precautions that needed to be implemented into the ceremony, such as the masks, social distancing and (limited) capacity,” he said. “It may have not been the exact way all of us thought it would be, but all of us are so glad that we did get to experience a graduation ceremony with our friends and some important people in our lives.”

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