As the 2019-20 school year begins to approach what would have been the last day of school on May 22, the Riverbank community and the Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) have become creative on making the remainder of the year special for Riverbank High School seniors. The goal is to make it memorable, as their senior year abruptly came to an unexpected end in mid-March. Ana Calderon created a private Facebook group for RHS seniors called Riverbank Adopt a Senior 2020 and RUSD invites everyone to a memorable cruise by on Friday, May 8.
High school seniors from near and far have had their senior year shut down along with all the non-essential businesses as they will not have a prom, senior grad night, senior awards, sporting events and the highly anticipated graduation ceremony. Although this is not due to the wishes from RUSD but more so as it is recommended from the state and local government over health concerns. With the fluid situation of COVID-19 the thought that things may turn around for the better and students may return to school is a hope that has unfortunately faded away. After a survey was conducted and sent to all seniors at RHS on whether they would like a virtual graduation or a live graduation ceremony, the majority chose a real graduation ceremony. The District will try to honor that at a later time.
In an attempt to turn that frown upside down and have students take away some good memories for their final high school year, RHS staff has been brainstorming. This Friday, May 8 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. they will be passing out the caps and gowns in the front parking lot at RHS complying with the social distancing order and having parents do a type of curbside pickup. Then from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. the RHS 2020 seniors will be celebrated. Students and families are advised to remain in their vehicles as they cruise down Claus Road with a display for all to see. RHS staff expressed that families can return at a later time to take pictures of the display with their senior and take the picture of the senior home with them as well if they would like.
“I am excited that we will be able to recognize our Senior Class of 2020,” stated RUSD Superintendent Christine Facella. “I challenged Mr. Diaz (RHS principal) to come up with an idea that would recognize the students while continuing to follow social distancing. He has worked diligently with his staff to put together this unique opportunity to assist in building memories amid this pandemic. We look forward to Friday’s drive by event and Friday Night Lights later in the evening.”
Although the Adopt a Senior FB group is not a school sponsored page, Facella showed her support and adopted RHS senior Jose Facio. There have been about half the senior class that has been adopted on that page. The page has been up for about a week and will not expire so there is still time to ‘adopt’ an RHS senior. This page is community driven and has grown since the day it was created with over 400 members. The seniors can be adopted more than once and they are gifted with something like a card, gift cards, letters, or snacks. The page was created to spread goodness for all the seniors at RHS that had their final year of high school end so quickly.