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Memorial High School graduates seniors in hybrid ceremony

The Memorial High School Class of 2020 went from the blistering heat to A/C ventilated cars in a celebration ceremony that was truly unforgettable.

The first of their school to graduate during a global pandemic, the Class of 2020 endured heat, high heels and suffocating masks to wrap up a unique year in a special way.

The 461 seniors graduated at Memorial High School Stadium in a private ceremony of recognition at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

A Parade of Graduate, honking horns, balloons tied to tailgates and plenty of cheers followed.

A Memorial graduating senior fixes his tassel while waiting to be called for his diploma.

Fixing her gap and gown as she readied to walk down the track, senior Chloe Guidry said despite the adaptations to the ceremony, it still felt awesome to be graduating.

“I’m glad that we got to this point,” she said. “I’m just ready to see what all we have to go through after graduation and how everything is going to go.”

Ranked No. 3, Guidry was also a part of another historical moment. She was amongst the first group of students to graduate from Woodrow Wilson Early College High School.

“It’s extremely important to know how far we’ve come,” she said. “We came a long way struggling through college courses and high school courses all during a crazy year. It’s been a struggle, but I’m glad we came to the end. We should feel very accomplished today.”

A family records their graduate receiving a diploma from their vehicle.

Guidry was co-captain of the Memorial Titan Cheerleading varsity squad, President of Ivy League and an officer of Honor Society.

She will miss Friday night lights the most.

“That’s just what I lived for,” she said.

As students flocked to their vehicles other seniors shared their favorite memories and goals from the backseat of a car.

Vanessa Ceja, a soccer manager in high school, said it felt amazing to graduate.

“Just congrats to everyone,” she said. “I hope you all do well in the future.”

Alan Cruz Martinez said he is most excited for college.

“It feels good to graduate,” he said. “I can’t wait to start at LIT this fall. While there are some things I’ll miss about school, there are other things I won’t, but I’m really going to miss my friends.”

As the Class of 2020 continued their drive to their diploma, words echoed by salutatorian Heaven Perrault and valedictorian Bey’Ounce Banks can be remembered.

“I learned so much from being a student at PAISD,” Perrault said. “In all four years I learned that if I want something no one else can get it for me, motivation and determination are the only means to get what you want out of life.

“My message for the underclassmen would be to stay focused and keep going. I know sometimes you may feel overwhelmed, but you have to move forward. In the end it will all be worth it. Don’t let anyone or anything come between you and your diploma.”

Graduating Woodrow Wilson Early College seniors stand for recognition.

Banks sent well wishes for the Class of 2020.

“Believe in the power of manifesting your thoughts,” she said. “As teenagers we tend to be pessimistic and putting ourselves down, but it’s time to start being positive and believing in ourselves and the things we do. Speak positivity and greatness into your life and it will always come back.”