The class of 2020 has been unlucky in that it has not had an opportunity to experience a graduation ceremony, most of which have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, there are heartening stories around the world of how people are boosting the morale of students that have missed their commencement ceremonies. For instance, former President of the United States Barack Obama gave a virtual commencement speech for the Class of 2020 to cheer them up. Meanwhile, the Hanisch Bakery and Coffee Shop in Minnesota gave away hundreds of cakes to graduating students.
Here is another heartwarming story of how a Principal ensured that his students do not miss out on earning their diplomas after all the hard work they had done throughout the year.
Doctor Scott Rudes is the Principal of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas. Like for many other schools across the world, this school also had its graduation ceremony cancelled due to the pandemic. Understandably, the senior students were distraught with the news.
During one video call that he was having with his students, Rudes gave out an unformed and half-baked idea: he proposed that he would personally hand over the diplomas of the students. His students, however, were thrilled with the idea suggested by their Principal, and he felt that he should not let them down.
So, on 22nd May, Rudes packed the 240 diplomas in his car for the 240 of his graduating seniors and set out on the trip to hand deliver the diplomas!
He covered an astounding 1,750 miles in a span of 10 days in his personal car to drive to each of his students’ house to personally deliver the sanitized diplomas and congratulate the students and their families.
“We took it a day at a time and a mile at a time,” he says. “Each stop was memorable and brought joy to people’s faces.”
And his students received their diplomas in very creative ways, turning their ceremonies into performances. For instance, one student received it jumping on a trampoline while another on an inflatable slide! Rudes admits that when giving out the diplomas, he was part of a few TikTok videos too!!
“One of our core values at our school is to ignite joy,” he said. “And that is what I saw on the faces of my seniors and their families. Just a few minutes of joy in the midst of all this uncertainty.”
“Whatever presents in life, find the opportunity with that and run with it. That’s one of the things I think we do best at a school like ours with artists, to teach them to view the world from multiple perspectives and to be creative and expressive,” Rudes said. “I think that’s what gets them through the hard times.”
What a beautiful gesture by this Principal! Do you agree? Let us know your views in the comments section below.