ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The staff at University City High School got creative Friday, handing out caps and gowns to seniors in a drive-thru-style procession in front of the school. It was an emotional day for many of the 180 students who pulled up to get their graduation gear.
“I’m in a line with people that’s scared to come to me to get my cap and gown for graduation that I may or may not have,” teary-eyed high school senior Roberta Booth said.
School staff handed out the gear from a distance, wearing face masks and gloves. Some even used mechanical grabbers to collect money and hand out bags. Staff also surprised students with a commemorative t-shirt stylized like the TV show "Friends" that read, “Seniors 2020: The One Where They Were Quarantined.”
Friday was the first time most students had been back to the school since it closed more than a month ago.
“It’s really exciting,” senior Erianna Funches said. “I get to see all of my friends here, and I haven’t seen them all break.”
For now, University City High School’s graduation is still on, pushed out to mid-June. An early-June prom also is still on the calendar. Students are crossing their fingers, hoping the coronavirus outbreak won’t blow out those plans the way it’s completely reshaped the final semester of their senior year.
“Even though what’s going on right now in the world, I’m happy to be a senior [here] and be able to get my cap and gown today,” Darryl Person said.
“It’s important to pick it up today because it shows that we can still push through and make it to graduation,” classmate Jashaun Sneed added.
Students are staying optimistic, focusing on the accomplishment of this major milestone regardless of whether they’re able to celebrate with a formal ceremony.
“It means a lot for the sake of I’ll be the first one of my siblings to graduate,” senior Aliya Mitchell said.