• A decorated for graduation and balloons

      Cap and Gown Event at John Muir (Photo – @JohnMuirHS)

      Dr. Brian McDonald, Superintendent of the Pasadena Unified School District, sent a message to the graduating seniors in the Pasadena Unified.

      By Laura Hackett

      Dr. McDonald wanted to let the seniors know that students in the graduating class of 2020 are very much on their minds. They’re pleased to hear the many stories about college acceptances and plans after graduation. Graduation ceremonies are one of the most memorable rites of passage, and the PUSD team and Dr. McDonald are committed to honoring the graduates and their families virtually. The Academics team, along with high school principals, are working on ways to celebrate seniors. Instead of traditional events, they’re calling them, seniorbrations. The plans are, of course subject to the latest guidelines and recommendations from the state and public health authorities.

      two men and one femal student wearing makss taking their senior prom photos

      At John Muir High School Early College Magnet (Photo – @JohnMuirHS)


      High School Seniors in the Pasadena Unified School District picked up their caps and gowns this weekend (Friday and Saturday May 8 and 9) via drive through pick up. It was a celebratory event! Students were encouraged to decorate their cars celebrating themselves as they came to pick up their caps and gowns. The spirit in the air was that “we can be fun and healthy at the same time.” Appropriate spacing was maintained. Everyone was required to stay in their car the whole time.

      After the students received their caps and gowns, the graduate (and only the graduate) got out of the car in a designated space, while maintaining social distancing, put on the cap and gown, and then each graduate’s picture was taken. The graduates were allotted only four minutes each so they needed to come camera ready.

      There were no alternate dates or times available. In order to deliver these “treasures” to all of the graduates and maintain social distancing the Pasadena Unified School District worked hard to space everyone throughout the two days. Each graduate was instructed to arrive at a specific time based on their last name.

      A car with writings on its windows congratulating students on graduation

      At Pasadena High School’s Cap and Gown event (Photo – PasadenaHighSchoolBulldogs)

      Virtual graduation

      The virtual graduation will be themed around the PUSD Vision Statement which states that PUSD is the “first choice in education for families and students who value academic excellence, innovation, and diversity in programs and students. We will maximize our fiscal, human, and community resources to prepare our students today for the opportunities of tomorrow. PUSD provides a safe and supportive environment. We cultivate individual abilities and talents. Graduates will ready for college and career success. PUSD students are enabled to be responsible and productive citizens.”

      The virtual graduation will celebrate the accomplishments of the PUSD graduates of 2020 and commemorate a memory to share during a time of loss. A virtual production will be created for each High School.

      Dr. Elizabeth Blanco, Chief Academic Officer, stated:

      Our high school seniors are living a year that none of us ever imagined for them. We know that our seniors and their families/caregivers are feeling a loss of special times with friends, classmates, and teachers. We feel that loss with them.

      A graduating student in blue gown and cap standing by his car

      At Marshall Fundamental (Photo – Felita Kealing)

      An uplifting message

      Principal of Marshall Fundamental High School, Mark Anderson, sent the following message to the seniors:

      Your senior year has been a historic one that none of us ever imagined for you. You have been very much in our thoughts and our hearts these past weeks because we know that you are feeling the loss of special times with your friends, classmates, and teachers. We feel that loss with you. Thank you for completing the senior survey on your preference for graduation. We held out hope that we could hold traditional in-person graduation ceremonies as scheduled at the end of May…

      …We grieve with you that your senior year is ending this way. Please know that we would love nothing more than to see you in person again soon. Until then, we are wrapping our arms and hearts around you.

      The world will return to normal soon and we know that, with your courage and indomitable spirit, you will be ready to meet and embrace it and all its beautiful possibilities.

      A student having his photo taken 6 feet away

      At Blair High and Middle School (Photo – @blairschool)

      A young man with a blue cap and gown

      Anthony Hammack from Marshall Fundamental at Cap and Gown event (Photo – Wayne Hammack)

      A student in green cap and gown holding a sign that says: Class of 2020

      Class of 2020! At Blair High and Middle School (Photo – @blairschool)

      A student in cap and red gown

      Tatiana Ayala from Pasadena High School (Photo – PasadenaHighSchoolBulldogs)


      > Editor’s note: Help us identify our wonderful students in above photos by sending us their names in a comment below. Stay safe and be well.

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      1. Elizabeth Champion says:

        The Pasadena High School student (pictured in the red gown having her picture taken) is Tatiana Ayala.

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