Car parade planned for
Santa Ynez graduation
Santa Ynez Valley Union High School is joining high schools nationwide celebrating the graduating class of 2020 while following social distancing guidelines and keeping its students safe.
On Friday, which would have been the seniors’ graduation day, a Senior Celebration Day will take place with a car parade and professional photos.
Beginning in Buellton and travelling through all five towns in the valley, each vehicle may only hold one graduate and no more than four immediate family members. Once the graduates reach the high school, they’ll cruise through the stadium, and their photo will be taken by a professional, all while remaining in their cars.
“Nothing will be handed out, and there will not be any speeches or other typical trappings of a graduation ceremony,” said Mark Swanitz, SYVU’s principal.
In addition, the SYVU community is hoping for a traditional in-person ceremony on the tentative date of July 24. In a survey sent out to graduates and parents in late April, 73 percent voted to postpone the in-person graduation.
“If an in-person ceremony cannot be held, then a decision will be made whether to hold a virtual ceremony or to postpone to a later date,” Mr. Swanitz said.
Scott Cory, the superintendent of the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District, said that the district wants to honor the request of the formal graduation.
“The car parade is an opportunity to acknowledge them in a memorable way,” Mr. Cory said.
Mr. Swanitz sent out a letter on May 4 to the class of 2020 thanking the students for the four years and expressing his pride in their accomplishments.
“The unprecedented events precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic which have led to the closure of campus and the sudden advent of online learning have robbed you of so many experiences: Prom, Disneyland, Grad Night, yearbook signings, celebrating the last day of school with friends and much more,” Principal Swanitz wrote. “None of us who have watched you develop into the exceptional young men and women you are today want your graduation ceremony to be one more thing added to that list.”
He said that he agrees with the majority wanting an in-person ceremony.
“I think to settle for anything less just to stick to a schedule does not adequately honor all that you have done and accomplished,” Mr. Swanitz said. “I, like you, am optimistic that we can give you the ceremony you want and deserve by postponing it.”