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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

East High holds personal commencements for graduating seniors

Des Moines Public Schools scheduled "personal commencements" for each of its graduates. East High students held theirs on Saturday.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The COVID-19 pandemic has made it a wild final semester for the class of 2020.  It's not the final chapter anyone planned for, especially without the normal traditions like prom and a formal commencement ceremony.

But with all the curveballs that COVID-19 has thrown at schools across the state and the country, they seem to be hitting pretty well.  With limited options, many schools, including the Des Moines Public School district, found a way to make sure their graduating seniors get the commencement they deserve.

East High School seniors had their own personal commencements Saturday, where they walked across the stage in isolation from their classmates and each got their own individual diplomas.

Students like Isaiah Dameron took today to reflect on their high school years, and Dameron gives a lot of credit to those who have helped him through the years.

"I want to thank my grandma, I want to thank my dad, I want to thank Miss Morris, thank Miss Rixen, Coach Kee, basically all my mentors that helped me get to this point, because there was days where I didn't even think I'd see this day," Dameron said. 

"I wanted to give up cry, but they kept me strong when I needed it, when it mattered most so, I'm here today."

This day was especially special for Dameron, because it gave him the chance to celebrate not only himself, but also his late brother.

"My brother passed away my freshman year. So doing this, it was basically like a congrats for both of us because he never got the opportunity to graduate from East High," Dameron said.

"I just put that weight on my shoulders like you've just got to be the one to do it and I finished this so I really take pride in graduating early."

WATCH: Messages to the Class of 2020 on Local 5's YouTube channel

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