Columbus High School's class of 2020 got to take a victory lap Saturday morning, making history as they participated in a unique graduation ceremony at Homestead Miami Speedway.
“Honestly, I feel like this is the best we could do with what we had,” said Nicholas Valdes, a Columbus graduate. “I’m really proud to be graduating from Columbus and I’m happy that this happened.”
Due to the pandemic, traditional graduation ceremonies were impossible this year. Instead, graduating Columbus students got to ride in their cars with their families and complete several laps around the racetrack.
“It feels weird it really does, it feels out of the ordinary,” said Cameron Sanchez, another graduate.
“It’s odd, yeah, but I’m happy I got to see all my friends one last time,” said Anthony Orifici, who also graduated Saturday.
The young men also noted how difficult the end of the school year had been.
“It’s had me down because I can’t see my friends and everything but at the same time, the whole world is going through something, so I’m doing the best I can,” said Valdes.
“It’s hard man,” said Orifici. “It’s hard to do school and it was difficult for me, definitely. But if you put your mind to it, you should be able to do it.”
Getting to the finish line took some work and support. “My teachers were on top of me all the time they definitely supported me when they should’ve," Orifici added.
Now, with diplomas in hand, the graduates are ready for their next chapter, however uncertain the future may be.
“We did it,” said Orifici. “We are graduated and we’re happy to be here.”