Today, Thursday, May 21st, an impromptu graduation was held for Park View Elementary School’s eighth grade students Thursday morning on the lush grounds of Stouffer Park adjacent to the Stanislaus River.
It was something of a well-planned last minute event taking a detour around the halting and postponement of school graduations across the nation and in Ripon as well.
In excess of 60 students gathered with their schoolmates prior to the 9:45 event on the massive, plush, green lawn of the park where one mother had placed 24-inch-high letters naming the school in the grass and an equally large “2020” to designate the year of graduation.
There were no teachers involved in the event as they were reportedly told by the school board to be absent from the graduation that was organized by a Ripon pastor’s wife Kaileen Espinoza for their graduating son Michael. Parents were adding their donations to help pay for the large letters and graphics she had purchased for the morning’s event.
A professional photographer had been brought into the fray to take the group of graduates both with their face masks in place and also with them off. Parents gathered mid-field with their cell phones raised taking important memory shots. As the students stood some six feet apart in proper social distancing, the photographer’s drone took to the air and students were asked to move their heads in the direction of the drone and wave at the camera above and hovering near their spot in the group.
At the end of the class photo session a small group of students who had been together since kindergarten gathered behind the sign and date with some sitting on the grass. Triumphantly they all jumped straight up on command for the final shot.