The term ‘Friday night lights’ has a new meaning these days at Riverbank High School as the district will be turning on the stadium lights to recognize the ‘shining stars’ in the senior class of 2020. As schools have been closed and all sports, concerts, activities and events have been canceled including the graduation ceremony for the senior class, the district is trying to adjust and remind them that they are special.
Riverbank Unified School District has not made any official decisions on the graduation ceremony; however there are plans to do something even if it is in the fall, virus permitting. The District, staff and students along with everyone else are on a day to day basis as things can change regularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Depending on the rules and regulations regarding public gatherings this summer will help determine what the district will do for a graduation ceremony as they have already discussed several scenarios.
“Students were surveyed and while it may not ever be possible, 78 percent of the 91 respondents would like to hold off and wait for a more traditional ceremony,” stated RUSD Superintendent Christine Facella.
This past Friday, April 24 at 8 p.m. the stadium lights on the RHS campus were turned on and vehicles lined up on Patterson Road to take a moment and reflect with people safely inside – or on top of – their own cars. The lights can be seen from Patterson and Claus roads and should continue each Friday until May 22. In the notice about the illumination at the stadium it stated, “You are our shining stars and we want to express how much we care about you all.”
“Director of Maintenance and Operations, Rudy Serrata volunteered to turn the lights on for us,” said Facella. “He reported that there were about twenty cars with people in them that attended the “Friday Night Lights”. When the lights went on, Rudy heard honking and screaming and said it was positive for sure.”
Facella added that the lights will continue to be turned on as long as it continues to be a safe occurrence without concerns of students gathering in close proximity.