While graduation ceremonies across the country are being cancelled, Ithaca High School is doing something special to honor each graduate as they turn their tassels.
“Four years in that school, not to have a normal graduation, sucks a little bit," said senior Holden Lazarus.
“I actually thought I wouldn’t even be having a graduation at all. I thought they would mail me my diploma or something, so learning that there was actually stage walking and my parents could come and take a picture and I could actually wear the outfit was cool," said senior Gwendllyn Lindberg.
Graduates walked the stage this week and were cheered on by family as they threw their caps.
“This has enabled us to spend at least five minutes with each graduate to dedicate the stage, literally and figuratively, to them and the families, and it's really been a nice way to send off each of our seniors," said Ithaca High School Principal Jason Trumble.
“It felt good to be able to have my principal tell me 'you graduated; here's your diploma.' That felt really good," said Lindberg.
The stage walks are being recorded by a local company, and will be compiled into a virtual ceremony. It gives graduates and their families closure on this chapter of their education.
“And to just kind of give you that feeling that OK, it actually is done, and this is our youngest daughter, so this is our last, so it's special that way," said Gwendllyn's father, Nathan Lindberg.
“We don’t have a small class so it presented particular challenges," said Trumble.
The class of more than 300 graduates came through in five-minute intervals. Other safety precautions were planned, like masks and holding the ceremony outside.
“Seeing the kids' faces is the best of anything, though. That's the best feedback you can get; they're appreciative. It's a simple thing, it's a simple gesture, but it's definitely worth it," said Ithaca High School Student Activities Director Karl Mellander.
The full ceremony will be streamed online June 25.