Coronavirus, pouring rain can’t dampen New Orleans’ seniors

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Neither the coronavirus pandemic nor rain showers could deter the 2020 graduating class of the New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School from having a celebratory — albeit improvised — commencement with a bit of New Orleans flair.

After finishing their semester online amid the school shutdown, students and family had a drive-thru ceremony where they exited their cars one by one to receive their diplomas outdoors. The school did its best to contain the shenanigans of … well … celebrating teenagers, with mixed results.

Teachers urged some of the minglers to return to their cars after receiving their diplomas. Most students and attendees wore masks that stayed on through the festivities including valedictorian Amber Nguyen. Proud families arrived in cars with their graduates, who emerged from the vehicles to take photos and cheer. They then returned to their cars for a parade that meandered through the city’s streets.

The parade went off with some of the hallmarks of this city known to celebrate and improvise. Many of the cars were festooned with banners, balloons, and encouraging messages painted on. Graduates popped out of sunroofs like members of a royal Mardi Gras Court atop a parade float.

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And as a finishing touch to authenticate this unique graduation as truly born of New Orleans, a classic afternoon rain shower drenched them as their parade wound down to City Park and then who knows where.

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