This year, graduation for Buena High School will take place on Saturday, June 13 at the Ventura City Hall from 9 am -2 pm. It’s no secret that the Class of 2020 has faced many hardships. With these unprecedented times upon us there has been plenty of stress and uncertainty to go around. One of the main concerns is how this year’s graduating class will be celebrated for all of their accomplishments while still following health guidelines during these trying times.
The graduating class has been split up alphabetically, by last name into 10 groups. Each group has a window of time consisting of 30 minutes in which they are to show up in their cap and gown to receive their diploma, have their name read, turn their tassel, and get a picture taken with the beautiful ocean and downtown Ventura in the background.
When there was news that schools would not be reopening for the rest of the school year due to COVID-19, several committees made up of staff, students, and administration formed all over the district in order to carry out the common goal of recognizing and honoring this year’s seniors. These committees included ones for the distribution of senior yard signs which took place on Friday, May 1, planning a one year reunion for the Class of 2020, the Senior Awards ceremony that went live on YouTube on June 4, the distribution of caps and gowns that occurred June 8-9 with a make-up day on the 10th, and of course, the Graduation Committee.
Daisy Mastroianni, a Buena teacher and parent to a graduating Bulldog was a part of this Graduation Committee and shared some insights. “One of the things that was talked about was pushing graduation back, but as we looked at the pattern of what the state was saying, it was still going to end up being something different. It was never going to be exactly the same,” Mastroianni said. Mastroianni also explained that at the committee’s very first meeting, students were asked what was most important to them and the message that came across was that they wanted to wear their cap and gown, turn their tassel and see their teachers one last time, “…so all of that is happening, it’s just being done in a different location.”
Another aspect of a traditional graduation that is still going to be followed through with is Honor Guard. Graduating seniors have the opportunity to nominate someone they feel has impacted them in a great way throughout their high school journey. All nominees were invited to the ceremony, but only people that were nominated from Buena’s staff will for sure be wearing the traditional white gowns. Therefore, “because of health and safety regulations, it’s hard to figure out a way to distribute gowns to community members that were nominated and are not a part of Buena’s staff” said Mastroianni.
Although this is not the traditional way of doing things, it is something unique and there have been many people working hard to make it all come together. Senior English Teacher and Graduation Committee English teacher Andrew Coates has a final message for seniors: “Please do not feel that you have been cheated out of a graduation or that your accomplishments have been cheapened by the drive-up City Hall ceremony…You deserve this as much if not more than the class that preceded you…You need to take a moment, no matter how small, or improvised it may feel, and soak in the fact that you are now high school graduates.”