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Hillsborough County moves forward with plans for in-person graduations

Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – At Bloomingdale High School in Brandon, seniors lined up in their cars to pick up their caps and gowns.

It was a memorable way for a right of passage that says a lot about our current status.


  • Florida is reporting 85,926 cases and 3,061 deaths
  • Florida in Phase Two of reopening
  • Cases have spiked in past week, Gov. DeSantis says due to increased testing

Teachers wore masks and held up handmade signs to encourage their seniors.

“I just want to get the point across that sometimes in society we tend to think of the negative things a lot and what we are going through with the coronavirus, but they’re graduating and that’s a big, big thing,” said science teacher Coralys Guzman.

Hillsborough County announced plans to proceed with an in person graduation, setting a new series of dates for the events in July instead of the traditional graduations in May.

“Our goal for this year is that our seniors get an in-person graduation because they deserve it. They’ve been working for 13 years for this goal. We want their friends and family see them walk across the stage. So we are going to do whatever we can under CDC guidelines to ensure that happens,” said Erin Maloney with the Hillsborough County School District.

Jordan Chastain is this years Salutatorian at Bloomingdale and says the in-person graduation ceremony is important to her.

“It’s really important for me to be able to walk, just because me and all of the friends that I have in my graduating class, we’ve all basically grown up together. We all started Kindergarten together, even if it was at different elementary schools. We’ve all bonded,” said Chastain.

Allison Patterson will graduate in the top two percent of her class at Plant High School and said the in person graduation is important for her and her classmates.

“You want to see all of your friends walk across the stage too, and hear your name called out, as dumb as it sounds, but it’s just a nice thing. You’ve known these people since you were 4-years-old,” said Patterson.


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