Miami-Dade County Public Schools

High School Graduations Back to Normal After Covid Disruptions

This year, the seniors were able to have an old-fashioned event, inside a theatre, with plenty of hugs and handshakes.

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High school graduation season kicked off Tuesday with the class of 2022 from Miami Arts Studio at Zelda Glazer receiving their diplomas at the Arsht Center in downtown Miami.

“So what’s really significant about this particular group of seniors is that if you look at their trajectory, they have been the ones that were probably the most impacted by the pandemic,” said Dr. Jose Dotres, the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Dotres was speaking about all the seniors, from every high school. He said the school district pulled out all the stops to make sure every senior could overcome learning gaps and opportunity gaps caused by the pandemic.

“It was all hands on deck, to make sure they had plenty of opportunities or the sufficient number of opportunities to make sure that they were able to pass the requirements for graduation,” Dotres said.

“And we all worked together, we formed a team and we got through the hard years of Covid, and we worked through the pandemic, we kept our grades up, we kept our spirits up, and that really pushed us through,” added Gabriella Gonzalez, a Miami Arts Studio graduate.

The class of 2020 had virtual graduations, sometimes supplemented by drive-thru celebrations. The class of 2021 graduated in a giant tent, big enough to accommodate social distancing. This year, the seniors were able to have an old-fashioned event, inside a theatre, with plenty of hugs and handshakes.

“This is what it’s all about, we’re thrilled because they bring to the world fresh ideas, creativity, imagination, a sense of service,” Dotres said.

Steven Ferreiro epitomizes that ideal.

“With my non-profit, I’ve served over 15,000 families, we’ve fed several hundred thousand pounds of food, just giving it to families, and we’ve also started a mobile food pantry which is one of five in the state of Florida,” said Ferreiro, part of the Miami Arts Studio class of 2022.

His classmate, Anayre Martinez, is already making plans for law school and beyond.

“And eventually start my own law firm and then run for president in 2040, so make sure to vote for me!” she said, laughing.

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