Three graduation parade ceremonies spanned July 9 through July 11 as PRHS celebrated graduates at the Midstate Fairgrounds and launched them into life.

Thursday July 9, 2020

Graduation at Midstate Fairgrounds

Friday July, 2020

Saturday July, 2020

Graduation Moves to July

Walking across the stage during pandemic required loads of effort and patience

by Cole Eberhard

Midstate Fairgrounds allowed graduates and their families to have three separate drive-in graduations from July 8 through July 11-- an unconventional celebration made to maintain social distancing among spectators -- stemming from efforts of over 50 administrators, teachers, board members, and students. Staff members from PRHS and members of the district collaborated to arrange the new venue just days prior to the actual event.

The first of the three celebrations began July 9, with one occurring each day. The event commenced each day at 5:15 under the hot afternoon sun as the cars of friends and family entered the Midstate Fairground. The cars parked in an array across an expansive dirt lot adjacent to the fairgrounds event stage. Families watched, windshields pointed towards the podium and LED screen, as Principal Anthony Overton spoke about the importance of kindness in the wake of pandemic and protest, and welcomed the day’s group of over 80 students that received their diplomas.

Overton introduced recorded speeches, from Superintendent Curt Dubost, Class President Morgan Harrington, ASB President Gabriella Clayton, Valedictorian Danielle Halebsky and Co-Salutatorians Jeremy Hunt and Robert Snipes.
Clayton commended the senior class for their resilience, Harrington spoke hopefully about the capability of the senior class in an uncertain future, and Dubost called for students to believe in the good of humanity during troubled times. Hunt discussed mental health and thanked friends and family for their support, Snipes spoke about his goal to become a teacher and to help the less privileged, and Halebsky recalled her hard work and the positive impact her teachers had on her.

After the on screen speeches, PRHS teachers announced each graduate, who entered through the left of the stage and a family member walked below the LED screen to enter from the back. Each student received their diploma, usually a hug, and the cheers and horn honks from spectators. Professional photos Photostop Services occurred to the right of the stage.

Decisions made in a July 7 board meeting moved the venue of the four graduation events from the War Memorial Stadium, the usual location of each annual graduation at Paso high, to a lot at the Mid State Fairground. Jennifer Bedrosian, Dance director and Activities Director at PRHS, spoke at the July 7 board meeting about graduation to help move the event to a better location with efforts too from Principal Anthony Overton and Director of Counseling Jennifer Clayton.

“We pushed it through that we could do a different venue and within eight hours we had organized it and called everybody," Bedrosian said. She praised Freestyle Event Services who mobilized at 7 a.m. the morning after a call. She also credited Mid State Fair who set up the parking lot got the plan pushed through overnight.
"It has been the collaboration of an entire district to have something like this happen as well as the support from our teachers and staff,” Bedrosian stated.

The graduation proceedings were made possible through Freestyle Event Services, an event production company based in the central valley whose technicians Nestor Morales and Jesus Verdudo setup and managed the 24 screen LED wall and event audio that broadcasted podium events for spectators.

“We had everything set up at the stadium prior, and we had to tear it all down and set it up here. We have an LED wall and a speaker system as well as multiple displays of our own, one is for the camera we are using to display the podium, as well as more monitors to handle the different media they want us to display” Morales stated.

Voice of Paso was represented at the graduation by members John Doss and Jim Weimann who livestreamed the event, managing the audio and video with a cameraman.

“We’re the internet radio station for the Bearcats. Right now we’re handling the livestream for all four of the events, as well as the audio side. We’re setting everything up to record the event so that everyone can watch it live or watch the recording if they couldn’t make it,” Doss stated.

Crimson Newsmagazine Staff 2019-2020

Crimson is the student publication of Paso Robles High School, published online weekly and in quarterly print news magazines.

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