COSTA MESA, Calif. – Newport-Mesa seniors are asking the district to reconsider virtual graduations and find some way to hold in-person ceremonies.

What You Need To Know

  • Senior class of 2020 students protested outside of district headquarters

  • Newport-Mesa seniors ask district to look at creative solutions

  • Students ask district to consider drive-thru ceremony

  • District planning “in-person senior celebration” later in the summer

Newport-Mesa School District seniors were outside NMUSD headquarters in Costa Mesa on Tuesday, protesting the virtual graduation that won’t allow them to partake in traditions like receiving a diploma in-hand or turning their tassels as a group, in person.

Henry Hobin is the Senior Class President of Corona Del Mar High School, which is one of four Newport-Mesa Unified high schools represented at the “peaceful protest.”

“More than half of the other districts in Orange County have provided a better solution than an online graduation. So that makes us think that it’s definitely realistic, and it can happen,” Hobin said.

Senior Riley Decinces, is the Newport Harbor High School yearbook Editor-In-Chief. After the district’s announcement that the school's graduations would be virtual, she spoke out by writing a letter that was even published by the LA Times. She says that even a socially-distanced graduation would salvage some of the senior year they missed.

“We want the opportunity to kind of have some closure during our senior year and be able to bring any sort of normalcy out of this kind of crazy time,” Decines said.

Spectrum News 1 reached out to the Newport-Mesa Unified School District who responded with the following:

“We realize that not having traditional, in-person commencement ceremonies is disappointing -- it would be all of our first choice. However, we must abide by state orders and social distancing guidelines.”

While the district is planning an “in-person senior celebration” later in the summer, if future state guidelines permit it, Newport-Mesa seniors are asking for the in-person graduation that was scheduled for June 18, to be postponed rather than solely broadcast online.

Hobin is headed to Georgetown in the fall and says graduating in person represents moving on to the next step.

“We went through 12 years of studying, of late nights, of failed tests. And also 12 years of fun and great bonding experiences. And I think that it’s really important to tie the knot together. And not on a TV,” said Hobin.