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Ripon High staging drive-thru graduation for Class of 2020
RHS val
Valedictorian Kiana Mikami

Some 200 seniors at Ripon High are scheduled to receive their diplomas tonight.

But the Pomp and Circumstance will hardly be conventional for the Class of 2020.

“This just breaks my heart,” said Principal Keith Rangel of the drive-thru ceremony scheduled from 6 to 8 o’clock. “We’re talking about one of the greatest classes we’ve had (at RHS).”

According to Activities Director Jill Mortensen, the graduation event amid the global COVID-19 pandemic calls for each graduate and members of the shared household to remain in their vehicle during the duration of the special diploma pick-up ceremony.

“This is for their own safety,” she said.

The spacing will take part every half hour, starting in alphabetical order – A through D beginning at 6, E through L at 6:30, M through R at 7, and S through Z at 7:30 – at the front of the RHS administration building similar to the morning drop-off routine by the flag pole.

“We’re looking forward to seeing (our seniors) for one last time,” Rangel said.

The graduates, in addition to their diplomas, will receive a class drinking mug.

RHS administrators along with Ripon Unified school board members are scheduled to take part in the distribution of diplomas.

The front of the school will be spruced with balloons accompanied by graduation décor and music.

Mortensen added that speeches by valedictorian Kiana Mikami, salutatorian Nico Ilardi and class President Ana Perez will later be made available via online.

“We were able to review their speeches a few months ago. I remembered they wrote about their connections to teachers and friends and the many memories they shared,” she said.