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Cristo Rey High School Grads Honored In Mpls. Drive-Thru Commencement

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When a pandemic closed schools back in March, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School’s 124 seniors didn’t know what spring would bring.

“We all thought we’d come back after two weeks. March 13th was the last time I was here and now it’s June,” said high school senior Maria Medel.Then came the destruction and strife just doors away. Protests over the police killing of George Floyd left the school with several shattered windows.

For graduates like Medel, it’s a sobering lesson in justice.

“The students of the class of 2020 here at Cristo Rey are justice seekers. I firmly believe this class is going to change the world,” Medel said.

And they already have. Out from the grips of chaos and upheaval sprang creativity. On Saturday, each graduating senior was honored at a drive-thru commencement ceremony.

One-by-one, balloon decorated cars drove into the school as teachers cheered from rooftops. And students stood for photographs in caps and gowns as parents did the honors.

Handing out each son’s or daughter’s diploma in a distinct and socially distanced way.

“It might be a tradition we continue,” said Cristo Rey President Jeb Myers. “Why can’t we bring parents up on stage and have the parents give the diploma to the student?”

Chalk it up to a lesson in flexibility and adaptation, making the best of a crazy and challenging situation.

“One thing I learned is that things need to be sacrificed for the greater good,” Baydan Dahir said.

Bringing sunshine to a shattered world, one graduate at a time.

“They give us hope and this community has a lot of hope. I’m really looking forward to what they do next,” Medel said.

Safe to say, we all will be.