RIO LINDA, Calif. (KTXL) — COVID-19 has taken away a lot from the class of 2020 but a partial lifting of stay-at-home orders came just in time for Rio Linda High School’s graduation ceremony.
Despite restrictions on large gatherings, the school’s staff and faculty found a way for seniors to have their moment walking across the stage in cap and gown.
The day was full of emotion from the students.
“I’m nervous and excited,” aspiring jazz vocal teacher Alysandra Bustillos said about heading to college in Iowa.
“It’s been a really long time and I didn’t think I’d get this far and then it be like this. So that’s kind of weird,” Bustillos said. “I’m kind of really excited that I got here.”
But amid the excitement, at least one student woke up anxious and preoccupied.
“I feel OK but what’s bothering me is the police is still killing black people,” student Damon Black explained.
Black’s family was full of smiles, support and encouragement.
But his mind was in Minneapolis with the memory of George Floyd, a man killed earlier this week by police who have since been fired.
The disturbing images and reminders of the reality for black men in America left the new graduate not much in the mood to celebrate the rite of passage.
“I get to get out of high school, I guess, but after high school, I still got to carry on this fear,” Black said.
His thoughts are a sobering reminder that this entrance to adulthood brings not just promise but potential pitfalls more for some than others.