ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Schools across the country and locally have become creative when it comes to social distancing for graduation ceremonies.
Whether it be online, one student getting a diploma at a time, or drive-through graduations, we are seeing it all.
Samantha LaRocca went to a ceremony Monday that was more of a media day type graduation.
At UPrep in Rochester, the graduating class celebrated their graduation in a whole new way.
They called it their media day where the gentlemen at their school went through a series of interviews on camera, pictures of them on the stage and class photos to celebrate their graduation.
Each student walked through a series of activities to honor their graduation.
“We got a lot of things we got introductions like you are coming into the auditorium for your graduation,” Raymond Rivera, a graduating student, said. “Then you have your interview talking about your experience with UPrep, COVID, how it messed up everything, did you enjoy this graduation better than another one. Then you come downstairs and you have a little photoshoot, make everything memorable and just have a good time. Then you come and do a mock crossing the stage, grabbing the diploma smiling at the crowd and clapping for everybody.”
LaRocca spoke with Rivera about how the school made this day more personal rather than celebrating all the students at once.
“I feel that this is more special because it is you enjoying your time without anyone else,” Rivera said.
“There are a lot of cameras, there is a lot of energy, there is a lot of school spirit because even though things have been sort of crazy we still want to make sure we celebrate our students so today that is what we are doing,” Director of Student Family and Community Support at UPrep Jamaal Peavy said.
Four professional videographers and photographers donated their time to put together this special media day for the students as their gift to them and the community during this time.
“All of them came out to support this venture of these young men,” Peavy said. “And just to be able to have four African American professionals who have their own business that is doing well in our community come to our children and our young men, in the midst of everything that is going on in the world right now, and take this project on and say, ‘We want to bless these kids because they deserve it.’”
At the end of the year, most graduates are wearing smiles from ear to ear but this year it’s a little different.
“It put a dent in a lot of things, but I have been getting my work done and I have been doing a lot of things to stay on track for college because that is the most important part, and I am sure a lot of people that are going to college know that,” Rivera said.
Peavy says there’s something that the faculty at UPrep want their students to know.
“I’m super excited for you,” Peavy said. “I am happy for you. I hope you take this offering from us because it is an offering that we are putting together for you to let you know we love you, we support you and we want you to do well, and this is our way of saying congratulations for finishing this milestone in your life.”
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