OXNARD, Calif. – It’s graduation day at Pacifica High School in Oxnard. All of the high schools in the Oxnard Union High School District are allowed to have in-person graduation ceremonies.
“It is a bitter-sweet moment,” said Destiny Marquez, a graduating senior from Pacifica High School. “I want to cry, and I want to get up and party. It has been a year, so I am really excited for this.”
Marquez is one of nearly 700 Pacifica High School seniors celebrating graduation day in a live ceremony.
Like many schools across the state, Pacifica's in-person ceremony was up in the air due to the coronavirus pandemic. For most of the senior class, graduation day will be the first and last time they're all together.
“Once I heard principal Lawrence announced that we are going to have our graduation ceremony, it was probably the best moment for all of us, because we haven’t seen each other at this moment, so this is like our first day of senior year,” said Marquez.
“I love these kids, and being able to honor them through a live ceremony, which we thought was never going to happen, even as recent as two months ago,” said Ted Lawrence, principal at Pacifica High School.
All 10 campuses in the Oxnard Union High School District were allowed to have an in-person graduation. Pacifica’s happened to land on the same day as California's reopening.
“Since we are a public educational institution, we will follow CalOSHA guidelines, which are stricter than Governor Newsom's guidelines," said Lawrence. "So we did have all of our graduates engage in COVID testing prior to the ceremony, and they will still wear their mask."
For Marquez, it might not have been the senior year she had envisioned, but it is one she will never forget.
“It is surreal,” said Marquez. “I can’t believe I am standing here in this moment.”