Carpinteria High School has special plans
Carpinteria High School seniors won’t get the graduation ceremony they expected when the
school year started.
Graduates and their families will drive, not walk, across the high school finish line.
Principal Gerardo Cornejo said graduation will be held at 6 p.m. June 11 in the high school
parking lot, 4810 Foothill Road.
“Normally, students get to walk across the stage when they graduate,” Mr. Cornejo said. “That’s
of course not possible due to the social distancing guidelines.
“We are going to call the name of the graduate, but instead of the graduate walking across the
stage, it will be their family in their family car. We designated a part of the parking lot to look as
if it was a stage. They will be marching across the parking lot stage.”
Graduates and their families will remain in their car during the entire ceremony. When each
graduate’s name is called, they will drive along a specified route in the parking lot as their
friends and classmates cheer them on.
The school will upload the ceremony to YouTube at 8 p.m. June 11.
Mr. Cornejo said the virtual graduation is important because it allows the community to
celebrate with the graduates.
“It’s also a community recognition,” he said. “The community has invested resources, energy,
donations and support ever since all of our students have been in kindergarten or pre-K. They
don’t just graduate from Carpinteria High School. They graduate as part of the community.”
Most of Carpinteria High School’s 150 seniors have known each other since kindergarten. Mr.
Cornejo said some are still deciding how to begin the next step in their education.
“This year is unique in the fact that a lot of colleges are deciding to go virtual. A lot of our
students who were accepted to four-year schools are weighing the pros and cons of doing it
online or going to (Santa Barbara City College),” Mr. Cornejo said.
He said normally 90 to 95 percent of graduates go to City College or a four-year school.
Mr. Cornejo added that the most difficult part about the coronavirus has been seeing the
students enjoy the last moments of their high school experience without a prom and grad night.
“In 20 or 30 years when they have their class reunion, I don’t want them to focus on what they
didn’t have,” he said. “I want them to focus on what the community did for them. When they
have children, they won’t be able to say, ‘Yeah, I went to my senior prom.’ Those things will be
with them for years to come, but I want them to remember what the community did for them.”
Senior Adam Lent, 17, said he was disappointed when the school canceled the traditional
graduation ceremony because he saw the previous classes graduate and looked forward to that
experience for himself.
“I’ve seen the past three years of students being able to graduate and working so hard all four
years and then just being told you’re not gonna have one is kind of sad and it makes me almost
upset, but it’s like I can’t really be upset at anybody because no one could have predicted this,”
Mr. Lent said.
He added that the situation is especially disappointing because he has known most of his
classmates since kindergarten.
“I never really got to say goodbye to a lot of them, and I don’t know when I will be able to see a
lot of them again,” Mr. Lent said. “So, that’s also kind of a bummer. Obviously, there’s a
graduation, but with the social isolation presumably you’re also going to be missing out on the
goodbye parties, graduation parties, birthday parties and all of the sort of social events that
happen after graduation as well.”
Mr. Lent was an active member of Future Farmers of America and the school theater company.