Black Rock breaks ground with 1st drive-thru graduation ceremony

Celebrating with a group photo at Black Rock High School's graduation ceremony Wednesday, May 20, are, from left, graduates Tyronn Dafney and Dajouri Davis, Dajouri's daughter, Nala, Principal Jennifer Sands and Nala's proud uncle, Devlin Davis.

YUCCA VALLEY — Graduates smiling behind masks. Family members leaning over to take cellphone pics out of their car windows. It wasn’t your usual graduation, but the students and faculty at Black Rock High School did the best with what they had as they held the Morongo Basin’s first drive-thru ceremony Wednesday.

“It’s really cool. It’s like an individualized ceremony,” said Leah Nolan, whose parents applauded and cheered for her from their vehicle

Nolan and her fellow graduates had two hours to pull into the driveway at Black Rock Wednesday and Thursday morning. Their caps and gowns awaited them, and they tugged them on and then met Principal Jennifer Sands at the top of the short steps to the main entrance.

Sands remained masked; the students could choose whether to keep their faces covered while they posed for photos as Sands handed them a ceremonial diploma cover.

Then it was a quick handshake from board of education member Chris Proudfoot, waves, elbow bumps or hugs from faculty on the other side of the driveway and back into the car to drive away.

There was still a chance for parents to cheer and show their support -- from inside their vehicles.

“Her parents are very, very proud of her. She worked so hard,” Logan’s mom, Deniece Englund, said from the driver’s seat.

Faculty and staff held up signs and honked their vehicle horns while shouting out to their graduating students.

“Keep going to school!” a teacher called out to Tyronn Dafney. “You can still text me if you need help.”

Graduate Dajouri Davis brought her infant daughter for a group photograph with Dajouri’s brother and fellow grad, Devlin Davis, and a smiling Dafney.

It was a chance at a small piece of what a Black Rock graduation usually looks like, with students celebrating with their families and the teachers who have worked with them to make sure they get all their credits.

“Honestly, I think it’s a really good alternative and it meets all the guidelines,” graduate Johnny Marquez said.

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