College & Workforce Readiness Photos

Parades, Toilet Paper Diplomas and Lawn Signs: Images of Graduation for the Class of 2020

By Jaclyn Borowski — May 15, 2020 1 min read

Across the United States, graduation for the class of 2020 looks different this year. Gone are the days of families gathering together to watch their graduates walk across the stage and receive their diploma alongside their peers. In its place, schools have gotten creative in celebrating this year’s seniors. From car parades to quarantine diplomas made of toilet paper, signs on lawns and across entire streets, here’s a look at some of the approaches schools have taken to celebrating this class’s culmination.

ALABAMA

On Monday, May 12, 2020, Central High School graduates gesture during the first of five live graduation ceremonies at Garrett-Harrison Stadium in Phenix City, Ala. Over 80 graduates walked Monday night and another 400 graduates will be getting their diplomas over the next four days during similar ceremonies.
Families wore masks and practiced social distancing during Central High School’s first of five live graduation ceremonies at Garrett-Harrison Stadium in Phenix City, Ala.

FLORIDA

Math and English teacher Anne Mikos places a decoration on her car while attending the senior graduation car parade on Friday, May 1, 2020, at Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa, Fla. Because they cannot celebrate their traditional graduation, the class came together to drive through campus where they were greeted by their families and the school’s staff.
Graduates wave from their cars while participating in a senior graduation car parade on Friday, May 1, 2020, at Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa, Fla.

IOWA

Ellie Tanko is hugged by Abby Tanko (left) and Anna Tanko, 16, after graduating during a diploma delivery to Xavier High School seniors around Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. The school held a virtual prom and is holding a virtual Baccalaureate mass, in addition to the drive-by graduation.
A roofing crew watches as Ellie Tanko graduates in her front yard during a diploma delivery to Xavier High School seniors around Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

MISSISSIPPI

Zackary Alexander and his family make their way into Milam Elementary School after they were summoned by school officials from the parking lot for his graduation ceremony, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Tupelo, Miss. The school district divided up the graduation ceremony to five different locations spread over three days with no more than four guests in attendance.
Tupelo High School senior Torrean Albert makes his way across the stage to an empty auditorium at Milam Elementary School as his family waits backstage during his graduation ceremony, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Tupelo, Miss.
Tupelo High School 12th grade Assistant Principal L.V. McNeal hands out a diploma to a graduating senior at Milam Elementary School, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Tupelo, Miss.

NORTH CAROLINA

Neiko Pollard wears gloves while trying on a graduation cap during cap and gown pick-up at Page High School in Greensboro, N.C., on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

OKLAHOMA

Seniors sit on their cars and talk to classmates while waiting for the start of a graduation parade for Bixby High School’s class of 2020 on Thursday, May 7, 2020.
A roll of toilet paper sits on an antenna of a car during a graduation parade for Bixby High School seniors on Thursday, May 7, 2020.

PENNSYLVANIA

Part of East Carbon Street, in Minersville, Pa., is decorated for a neighborhood graduation for Minersville Area High School graduating seniors’ Lindsey Rinaldo, Will Hunter Horan, and Taylor Marks on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. The graduates were all presented flowers and a “quarantine diploma,” made with toilet paper.
Minersville Area High School graduating senior Lindsey Rinaldo’s “quarantine diploma,” sits out during a neighborhood graduation on East Carbon Street, in Minersville, Pa., on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

TEXAS

Anderson High School senior Teyaja Jones, right, poses in her cap and gown with a bandana face cover, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Austin, Texas. Texas’ stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic have expired and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has eased restrictions on many businesses that have now opened, but school buildings remain closed.
Chris Choat, principal at Richardson High School, rides a scooter past a long line of cars congratulating students on graduating in Richardson, Texas, on Friday, May 8, 2020. Choat said that the school graduated 631 seniors this year and he and his staff greeted all those who drove up to collect their caps and gowns.
Kyle Nolan, left on the roof, holds a sign that reads “Mama, We Made It”, as she joins others in a neighborhood parade honoring 2020 student graduates from both J.J. Pearce and Richardson High Schools in Richardson, Texas, Saturday, May 9, 2020. The event was organized by a group of parents who asked neighborhood residents to come out and cheer on the local graduates whose traditional ceremonies were canceled due to COVID-19.

WASHINGTON

Alayshia Baggett, left, hands out homemade face masks as she rides with a mortarboard graduation cap and tassel on her car Tuesday, May 12, 2020, during a drive-up car parade to distribute caps and gowns to seniors graduating from the Tacoma School District’s School of the Arts High School. All high schools in the district will hold virtual graduation ceremonies, so the event, which required students to stay in their cars, allowed them to be greeted by cheering teachers and administrators one more time before graduation.
Han-Yin Hsu, who teaches design at Tacoma School District’s IDEA (Industrial Design, Engineering and Art) High School, holds a sign that reads “So Glad To Be Your Teacher,” Tuesday, May 12, 2020, as she greets students during a drive-up car parade to distribute caps and gowns to seniors.
Graduating senior Josiah Anderson drives a 1950’s Hudson Hornet, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, during a drive-up car parade to distribute caps and gowns to seniors graduating from Tacoma School District’s IDEA (Industrial Design, Engineering and Art) High School.

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A version of this article first appeared in the Full Frame blog.

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