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Reynolds High grants diplomas in socially distant ceremonies at four spots in the high school

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Jaclyn Hamilton, with her family in the background, gives a thumbs up at Reynolds High School graduation ceremonies

It wasn't the ceremony in the big coliseum in Portland that they had expected, but the Reynolds High School class of 2020 celebrated their graduation with gusto and social distancing at the high school last week.

Raider Mariauna Brown said graduating "feels amazing. Even with all the cancellations we went through, I'm glad we got a graduation."

Traditional graduations were canceled across the country due to restrictions tied to the coronavirus and schools had to improvise pandemically-proper graduation ceremonies.

The Reynolds "commencement" took place Thursday, June 11, at four separate spots in the high school building. The 500 graduates were assigned to a parking lot and building entrance time by their last names. Each graduation station limited the number of people allowed at a time and staff was masked. Social distancing was observed.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Emmanuyela Maftey picks up a rose at Reynold High School graduation. Graduates were asked to give the roses to someone who influenced them for the better in their lives.

Graduates walked in to celebratory rock music and had some time for family pictures. Then their name was called, and they received their diplomas to "Pomp and Circumstance," the traditional graduation march.

They were able to pick up yard signs and, in a touching detail, got a long stemmed rose that they were encouraged to present to someone who influenced them in their lives.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Mariauna Brown, said graduating feels amazing even though it was not what the seniors expected when they started the school year before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Bway Lay Shee, who is heading to Portland State University in the fall, said commencement "was not what we expected, but I was glad to get to graduate and that the school held a ceremony for us."

The Raider class of 2020 boasted 37 students with a 4.0 grade point average or higher. The valedictorian was Gabrielle Phan and salutatorian was Kimberly Truong.

Reynolds Principal Wade Bakely said the staff's "biggest excitement is to be able to offer something … to make our graduates feel special."

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Some last minute adjustments before the ceremony.

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