West Harrison High School seniors cross the stage in traditional graduation ceremony

Updated: May. 30, 2020 at 4:37 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s been a wild ride for the Class of 2020. The school year didn’t end as they expected, or wanted it to, but there was one moment West Harrison High School was able to salvage for its seniors, the walk across the stage.

For those like Desirae Dorr, that was important. Dorr has never missed a day of school. She’s the only one in her class to achieve 13 years of perfect attendance.

“I just hated makeup work, and it was my goal to not miss school because I didn’t like making up work or anything,” she said.

So when coronavirus flipped things upside down for the Class of 2020, she was worried about missing one of the biggest moments of her school career - the culminating moment, the walk across the stage.

She didn’t, and neither did her fellow classmates at West Harrison.

Harrison County School District worked with the Coast Coliseum to make sure that despite the circumstance, the Class of 2020 wouldn’t miss out on the pomp of a traditional graduation ceremony, albeit a socially-distanced one.

“Graduation is like a big milestone for everybody so being able to walk the stage and get our diploma is just a big step for us,” Dorr said.

Students were spaced out six feet apart on the arena floor and were allowed to invite four guests, who sat spaced throughout the arena.

The changes didn’t seem to take away from the special moment of receiving a diploma.

“It’s a tradition. Every person that goes through school has their graduation, and I’m glad we get to experience that too, even amidst all the craziness in the world right now," said Mason Halsey, student body president.

“It’s definitely just amazing because some schools, they didn’t get this opportunity, so I’m really glad that I had this opportunity. It’s really heartwarming that they did all this for us," said Alexia Manganti, valedictorian.

So as they moved their tassels from right to left, another chapter is closed, one they’ll certainly never forget. and a new chapter begins.

Jackson County high schools graduate next weekend at the Coast Coliseum.

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