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For alternative schools there was a graduation

It wasn’t traditional, but it was welcome and very satisfying as Petaluma’s alternative high schools celebrated their 2020 graduates with improvised ceremonies last week.

San Antonio and Valley Oaks Independent Study high schools paraded graduates one-by-one across a stage set up on the school campus, announcing each student holding a diploma while faculty and family members beamed from a safe distance.

Each presentation was videoed to be edited and presented to the recipients.

Carpe Diem and Sonoma Mountain graduates had the ceremonies taken to them with principal Greg Stevenson and most of the school staff parading to each graduate’s home to present diplomas with brief ceremonies at each stop.

Stevenson explained that the original idea was for him to deliver the diplomas, but the idea quickly grew.

“I wanted to get the whole crew involved,” said Stevenson. “Everyone was really excited. We wanted to give the graduates a chance to celebrate when their accomplishment was fresh. These students have been down a road that was not conventional.”

And the graduates and their families were glad to see the caravan that included teachers and other staff members.

“This was nice,” said Sonoma Mountain graduate Octavia Soucauot. “I was looking forward to celebrating with members of my class, but you have to do what you have to do.”

For Carpe Diem graduate Daniel Niles, the at-home graduation was just fine. “It is nicer than the regular graduation to be with my family,” he said. “High school was a lot of hard work, but I got what I wanted.”

Carpe Diem had six graduates and Sonoma Mountain 10.

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