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High School Brings Graduation Ceremony To Each Student Amid Lockdown

Although the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has effectively cancelled graduation ceremonies across the country, one Ohio high school has gone above and beyond in order to give all of its graduating seniors the unique send-off they deserve.

According to Yahoo News, officials from Dohn Community High School in Cincinnati have been going door to door to visit each member of the 2020 graduating class to personally present them with their diplomas, as well as hold a mini graduation ceremony right in their front yard.

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Dohn's director, Ramone Davenport, said ever since the high school closed at the onset of the pandemic, he's been making a real effort to stay connected with the students.

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“We’ve been in constant conversation with them," he told Yahoo. "We’re in their ear and we continue to keep them encouraged."

Although the school plans to hold a graduation ceremony for seniors in August, quarantine measures permitting, Davenport said he still wanted to do something special for those students who have worked so hard for the last four years to get to this point.

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So beginning last week, school officials have been making it their mission to visit every single graduating senior, while still maintaining social distancing measures.

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“I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to allow our current state that we’re in to deter these students from moving on to the next level," Davenport explained. "I’m going to try to put a smile on somebody’s face today'."

The mini graduation ceremonies see Davenport and a handful of his colleagues appear on seniors' doorsteps bearing a cap and a gown, ready to give that student the send-off they deserve.

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So far, the school has commemorated the graduation of six students.

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“When I showed up, they were just like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening'," Davenport recalled. "And when I went through the small ceremony, I did everything I would do at a big graduation, but I kinda tried to make it feel realistic. I certified that they met all of the graduation requirements, and they got a chance to turn their tassels.”

Dressed in purple caps and gowns, the students were able to formally receive their diplomas from a masked Davenport in front of their families. A video team was also on scene to film the ceremonies, which were then later uploaded to YouTube for other friends and family members to enjoy.

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One of those students, Vic’Tajia Stuckey, said she was devastated when her senior year was cut short.

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However, once she learned of the special graduation ceremony being put on just for her in her front yard, her spirits were significantly lifted.

“I was super happy,” she said. “It felt better than an actual graduation, because I don’t like super big crowds...[and] everybody came out to show love and they made something happen for me because I wasn’t having a graduation.”

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In total, there are 250 students in the 2020 graduating class, so Davenport certainly has a lot of doorbells to ring and diplomas to hand out.

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But he said that as long as the students meet the requirements for graduating, he will keep showing up to give them the special, private ceremony they've earned.

“The reaction from it, it’s been amazing," he said. "To see the parents and the struggles they went through to even get to that point has been amazing. So I feel real good about it."

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Davenport also has a special message for his Dohn Community High seniors, as well as every other graduating senior all across the country.

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“Don’t let nothing stand in your way,” he said. “The odds may be against you, and you know you just gotta keep striving, and I promise you if you do that, something good’s going to come out of it.”

h/t: Yahoo News, YouTube | Dohn Panther Pride Channel

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