By Mike Kinney
Cars, trucks and SUVs rolled into Richmond High today decorated in flowers, helium balloons and homemade signs touting the names of very important people. The VIPs were among 290 graduating seniors from the Class of 2020, who are celebrating a unique, socially-distanced car-based graduation today and tomorrow. Their significant accomplishments and wide smiles promised a bright future amid a nation in turmoil from the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread civil unrest.
“It makes me feel really good to know that we are celebrating these graduates and their many achievements despite everything that is going on in the world today,” said West Contra Costa Unified School District Trustee Mister Phillips, who applauded each student at the car-based graduation. “I hope these young people graduating here today will use their minds, hearts and voices to fight for and bring about change for racial and social justice. We are depending on them.”
Rheem Avenue and Maricopa Street had long lines of graduation vehicles making their way to the back gate to get into Richmond High. Vendors sold colorful leis, medallions and flowers and other graduation gifts as vehicles entered to check in. Once in, each vehicle proceeded to the student parking lot near 23rd Street, where the graduating senior would exit and walk up to a stage to receive their diploma. From there, they posed for photos before climbing back in their vehicles and driving off, presumably to conquer the world.
This year, 88 percent of the Class of 2020 graduated.
*Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct number of RHS graduates in the Class of 2020.