ROUND ROCK, Texas - More than 1,600 parents and students in the Round Rock Independent School District signed a petition to have a traditional graduation ceremony this year, and their wish was granted.
The district announced in an email this week that they would offer the option for students to participate in a traditional ceremony in the morning or a walking ceremony in the evening. Early College and Success High Schools will just have one, traditional ceremony.
Alayna Pelayo and Hart Black started the petition for a traditional ceremony. They received the email update as they were preparing to present their petition - and social-distancing calculations - to the school board on Thursday night.
"I opened it and I freaked out," said Pelayo. "I ran downstairs my mom had just come in from the grocery store, and I was telling her so she dropped her bags real quick and gave us hugs."
Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, chief of public affairs and communications for RRISD, said they had already started discussing this option for graduation a few weeks ago.
"However, that sort of input and perspective made the decision even easier because we knew it was something our students wanted," said LaCoste-Caputo. "We’re really proud of them for finding productive ways to make their voices heard."
LaCoste-Caputo said they did receive positive feedback from families about last year’s ceremony which is why they wanted to still offer the option at most of their schools. Seniors will receive a survey they can fill out with their choice.
"We've been working all year to do everything we can to honor our seniors, we always want to, but particularly this year," said LaCoste-Caputo. "It's been such an unusual year, and they've shown such grit and perseverance and grace through it all."
Black and Pelayo said they were extremely thankful to the board members as well as those that signed the petition. "We are super excited, and thank you to the community for supporting us," said Black.