Rio Americano High School

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Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Graduation Denied (Again): Rio Alumni Face Two Cancelled Ceremonies

A small number of COVID-era Rio graduates now see their college commencements cancelled due to protests

Amid pro-Palestinian protests at college campuses across the U.S., several universities have moved to cancel graduation ceremonies, make their commencements smaller, or close campuses altogether.

The University of Southern California originally called off their entire graduation ceremony, saying it presented security concerns given the size of the event. Later, they announced a smaller, revised format at a different venue.

Cal Poly Humboldt closed their campus for the remainder of the semester when protests began. And Columbia University in New York announced a transition to “school-based celebrations.”

These cancellations have left a handful of former Rio students, who graduated high school in 2020 with no proper ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, without a full graduation again as they leave their universities. Three Rio students who are graduating from USC this year will miss out on two proper graduation ceremonies.

“I cannot believe that I will be denied this milestone once again,” Rio alumna Brooke Rios, who is graduating from USC, said. “I have loved my time at USC and was looking forward to ending my time as a Trojan with the people who made my college experience so wonderful. I know I speak for my entire class when I say that another cancellation is truly heartbreaking.”

Students, parents and faculty alike have said that they feel the graduation cancellations could have been avoided with a better plan to handle the protests.

“I do not believe the cancellation was warranted,” Rios said. “The situation was mishandled from the very beginning, with [the] USC administration making unbelievably poor decisions at every turn.”

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