Marie Armijo, principal at Vista Colorado Elementary School in Needles, exchanges an elbow bump — the COVID-19-era answer to the handshake or high five — with a graduate during Needles High School’s graduation ceremony last week.

NEEDLES — The Needles High School Class of 2020 certainly blazed their own path. In fact, they led the school through previously uncharted territory to complete their high school journey.

The Class of 2020 had a four-day graduation ceremony, got to drive their vehicles inside the stadium and Branigan Field and got their diplomas while wearing face masks.

Memories in the making, all captured on video.

The ceremony, which began May 26, concluded four days later when the last of the school’s 52 graduates completed the novel ceremony in the year of the novel coronavius.

Last Tuesday, speeches were given by both of the class valedictorians, Gabriel Belt and Lauren Hartter; graduates Isabel Zuniga and  Lucas McCann and Principal Amy Avila.

The graduation ceremony for the NHS Class of 2020 was in a drive-through — or, more accurately, a drive-around. The graduates would drive up, get out of their vehicle, walk up to the stage and get their diploma. 

Last Wednesday, the Educational Training Center graduates and the Community Day School graduates were celebrated. On Thursday, half of the NHS graduates were presented their diploma and on Friday,  the other half of the graduating class closed out the ceremony.

The NHS Class of 2020 officers were Lauren Hartter, senior class president; Ally Pletcher, Associated Student Body president; Gabriel Belt, ASB vice-president; Isabel Zuniga, ASB/senior class secretary. Class sponsors were Gabriela Belt and Dawn McCann. The class flower was Tiger Lily, class colors were Mustang blue and silver, class song was “I Lived” by One Republic and the class motto was “You wanna cookie?”

The Class of 2020 graduates were:

Hayley Faye Allen, graduating with honor and California Scholarship Federation Life Member; Nathaniel Anderson; Gabriel Thomas Belt, valedictorian and CSF Life Member; Riley Elizabeth Breaux, high honor, CSF Life Member; Megan Danielle Burns, graduating with honor; Coy Dean Cameron; Clarisse Joycelyn Chavez, Philip Dennis Cochran, high honor, CSF Life Member; Edward Lee Dancy; Daniel Vincent Felix; Tarryn Ava Fesler; Aeryelle Renee Fritz, high honor; Ricky Cardenas Garica; Chole Justine Geiger, graduating with honor;  Jazmyn Roze Angel Guajardo; Julia Kassidy Guffey; Jase M. Harris;, Cassandra Marie Harter, high honor, CSF Life Member; Lauren Josephine Hartter, valedictorian, CSF Life Member; Mario Hernandez; Abigail Michelle Hetrick; Semaj Aubrey Howell; Melinda Ingole; Isabella Ursula Leon; Anthony Arthuro Leslie-McMahon, honor; Anthony David Lomavitu-Beridon; David Nowell Lomavitu-Beridon; Zylah Marie Losee; Desmond Martinez; Lucas E. McCann, high honor, CSF Life Member; Harshil N. Metha, high honor; Marie Minta Mills; Darrin Lane Mowrey, Mildred Mariah Necochea; Lexus Grayce Ochoa; Seth Patrick O’Dell, high honor, CSF Life Member; Nathan William Parker, high honor, CSF Life Member; Imperia Felicia Phillips, high honor, CSF Life Member; Ally Denae Pletcher, high honor, CSF Life Member; Tristan Shane Raffadeen; Aliyah Renee Rentas, high honor, CSF Life Member; Megan Roaque; Gabriella Jaylene Roberts; Nathan Michael Rodriguez, honor; Joshua Joseph Schaffer; Joshua Adam Shaffer; Megan Marie Sutton, Andy Dean Vandiver; Tyler Jeffrey White; Jalissa Jade Wood; Johonathan Daniel Zubiate; and Isabel Victoria Zuniga, high honor, CSF Life Member.

Education Training Center graduates were Ashley Lorriane Bredemann, Jonathan Michael Kalani Chambers, Darren Adam Davis, Nathaniel Gorden Farrer, Rose Marie Garcia, Elizabeth Ann George, Jaden Dyre Floyd, Brayden Quaid Hill, Rodrigo Resendiz Jr., Robert Rodenburcher, Angelina Marie Ross and Taylor Rae Wallace. 

Community Day School graduates were Kailee Lynn Antisdel, Kylii Mary Mercedes Candelaria, Milo Thomas Garcia, Connor Allen MacLean, Travis Allen Melon and Xavier Jose Zozaya-Burshia.

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