20 Seniors Who Refuse to Let Quarantine Ruin Their Graduation

For many high school and college seniors, graduation celebrations are looking a lot different during the Coronavirus. See how some got creative when marking their accomplishments.

By Mike Vulpo May 15, 2020 2:00 PMTags
Watch: Senior Refuses to Let Quarantine Ruin Her Graduation--Feel Good Friday

Congratulations Class of 2020: You did it!

For high school and college seniors, their final months of class were dramatically changed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Proms were canceled, finals were taken in childhood bedrooms and a formal graduation ceremony was either postponed, streamed online or straight up cancelled.

But as thousands of hard working students look back on their school experience, they are still finding ways to celebrate all of their accomplishments.

Whether it's filming mock graduation ceremonies, participating in creative photo shoots or celebrating with family, the Class of 2020 certainly won't let a pandemic ruin their celebrations. 

And in the weeks to come, Hollywood will be stepping up to celebrate the graduating class. On Saturday night, stars like LeBron James, the Jonas Brothers and former President Barack Obama will participate in the TV special Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.

Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, Tom Hanks and many more are also honoring this special group of students who will have quite the story to tell. 

20 Teachers Who Went Above and Beyond for Their Students During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Until then, take a look below at just some of the many special graduating seniors who await an exciting new chapter of life. 

The best is yet to come, grads! 

Super Mama

"Found out I was pregnant with twins my junior year of college and the first thing I said was, 'I couldn't have kids right now. I got to finish school.' That was one goal I wasn't giving up on. I dropped out half way through the semester and had my daughters 2 months early. Right after, I watched them fight like crazy for their life and from that point on, I knew it was a purpose so I made a promise I would go back & finish & to never quit on anything because they didn't quit on me," ‬Texas College graduate Keosha Peoples shared on Instagram. "Don't ever question your ability & don't ever let nobody tell you what you can't do! Because if I wasn't fit, the Lord wouldn't have chosen me and I owe it all to the most high for walking with us through this journey. May 2, 2020 10:30am was a day I've been waiting for FOREVER, everything happens for a reason, but what's done is done & I am DONE with the B.S (Bachelors of Science) ...it's still a celebration WE DID IT!!!!" 


The couple that graduates together, stays together. "Graduating from The University of Missouri-St.Louis with my fiancé is one for the books!" Daisha Pickens shared on Twitter while posing with her man Darryl Holmes. "Congratulations to us my love! #ClassOf2020." 


"The Coronavirus took my grandpa away, two members of my household are essential workers, and it took away the last months of my senior year, my graduation, and prom," Youth to Power author Jamie Margolin shared on Twitter from Holy Names Academy in Seattle. "But no matter what, the virus cannot take away the joy I feel in having FINALLY GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL."

We've Got a (Good) Feelin'

Before graduating from Fordham University, Dylan Mazzarella managed to bring his class together virtually for "one last song and dance." The video has quickly gone viral and reminded students that graduation can still be a good, good night. "Nothing is more important than bringing people together during this time of separation," he shared with E! News. "Just because us Fordham seniors are unable to spend the last few months together, it doesn't mean we can't still have a great time!"

Inspiring Farewell

Since she wasn't able to receive her diploma directly at her school, Sami Herzog and her family traveled to the closest college to hold a fake ceremony. "Although this wasn't the graduation I always expected, my family helped make it so special," the University of Michigan graduate shared with E! News. "It was more memorable than I could've imagined, and I hope what we did inspires others to do the same." 

The Extraordinary Class

Many high school seniors like Claire Crafts can't help but see the positive during a unique school year. "Quarantine has completely upended nearly all my expectations for the end of senior year, but it can't change the wonderful memories, friendships and hard work that have defined high school for me," the future Notre Dame student told E! News. "We are entering this crazy world as adults determined to create certainty in a time where there is little, and if that isn't a reason to celebrate, I don't know what is. Prom may be in July and these goodbyes don't look quite the same, but I am so grateful to my entire class and Santa Margarita Catholic High School for celebrating our graduation together with the same optimism and nostalgic beauty as always. Celebration certainly looks different this year and maybe that's what makes it even more extraordinary." 

Camp Randall at Home

When it was time to celebrate graduation from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rollie Woodward was surrounded by family in his hometown of Orange County, Calif. "It's obviously not the graduation that I or anyone hoped for, but sometimes when circumstances are out of your control, you just have to take it day by day and adapt," Rollie shared with E! News. "I am very lucky to have a great and supportive family and close friends around me that make even these tough days tolerable. Hopefully one day I'll get the graduation that everyone dreams about in Camp Randall, but for now I'm content with celebrating with my family. And it's nice knowing that no matter what happens, the Class of 2020 will always be famous." 

Leave Your Mark

"I am officially a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering!! I am 1 of 4 women in my graduating class and 1 of TWO black women! We are making our mark!" Kiana Jackson shared on Twitter. "#Classof2020 #WomenWhoEngineer #BlackGirlsGraduate." 

Family First

"On Thursday, I became the first person in my family to graduate from THE Texas A&M University!" Sergio Razo shared on Twitter. "I've been working up to this moment from the time I was 12 years old mowing lawns! Don't ever settle and always chase after your dreams! Thanks and Gig' Em Thumbs up #Classof2020 @TAMU." 

President of Fun

As senior class president at Tesoro High School in Orange County, Calif., Caeden King is determined to keep the fun going. "Some things that I have been working on during quarantine are the senior gift, graduation speech and possible senior events to make this class feel remembered in a special way," he shared with E! News before heading to San Diego State University. "While we may not be in class together, graduation traditions will continue!" 

Congrats Mom

When Alexis Horne graduated from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, she couldn't help but celebrate with her kids. "Mommy did it with TWO in 2020!' #Shawu20 #Classof2020," she wrote on Twitter. The Class of 2020 member added to E! News, "I want to show people it doesn't matter what life throws at you—anything is possible." 

Game On

"It's sad knowing we are all missing our senior milestones, but what I miss most is being with my lacrosse team," San Juan Hills High School graduate Josh Mastropaolo shared with E! News. "We have an amazing team and an amazing group of coaches that have led us into what was going to be an amazing season together. I'm grateful that we are all good friends and have stayed close. We get together when we safely can, we zoom as a team and we still have hopes that something could come out of all this before our actual senior year is over." 

Master of Ceremonies

"Today, I completed my Master's Degree in Aeronautics with a Specialization in Aviation Safety Management Systems," Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduate Shonte Miller shared on Twitter. Today, I graduated with a 3.70 GPA. Though we did not have a ceremony due to COVID-19, I am still cherishing this beautiful day."

Future Hero

"Sacrificed so much for my future, thank you Ohio State. #BuckeyeNation #classof2020strong," Hamdi Said wrote on Twitter. The new graduate, who majored in social work with a minor in substance misuse and addiction, told E! News she hopes to use her education "to tackle issues like mental health, trauma, addiction" and much more. "My goal throughout my career is to make a difference in my local community one client at a time," she shared with E! News. "Although this year hasn't been ideal, I can't wait to see what the future holds!"

Clear Skies Ahead

"All I want at graduation are my family, friends, and fun! Things that quarantine can't take from me," Jenesca William shared with E! News after graduating from Saint Louis University. "Quarantine didn't let me take grad pics at the beach, but I got my diploma!" And guess what? She loved her experience so much that she's headed back to the university in the fall to purse a Masters of Public Health in Global Health & Biosecurity.

The Final Test

It's not every year where you take Advanced Placement tests in your bedroom. "No cap and gown or graduation today, but I still finished high school and completed the AP calc exam!" Shawnee Mission South High School graduate Alma Harrison shared on Twitter

Home Sweet Home

The final day of school looked different for many seniors including Fresno State student Colleen Busby. "Just finished undergrad in my childhood bedroom #classof2020 #fresnostategrad," she shared on Instagram

Fight On

Before graduating from the University of Southern California, Trojans Naomi Hyman and Sophie Comeau decided to have a photo shoot at the campus' famous Bovard Auditorium. "I'm doing everything I can to make the day special. Although I'm waiting until the in-person ceremony to have the real party, I *splurged* on a $10 bottle of wine for when I submitted my last assignment," Naomi shared with E! News. "[On] the date of the original ceremony, my parents and two of my siblings are coming from the Coachella Valley to celebrate! We're getting takeout from Bavel Restaurant, the restaurant I would have had my grad party at. I'm celebrating over a slice of aptly colored red velvet cake from Susie Cakes and watching the livestream ceremony in my regalia. Of course, this isn't exactly how I imagined becoming an alumna, but I'm still thankful for my time at USC and for the privilege to graduate in the first place!" 

Unforgettable Ceremony

California Baptist University graduate Nicole Ramirez has her family to thank for a special ceremony. "I didn't expect anything special for graduation and yet regardless of the current circumstances, my family managed to make this milestone that much more special with a little surprise party," Nicole shared with E! News. "Definitely a graduation I will never forget!"

Go Kids

We can't forget about the elementary school kids graduating to middle school! Manhattan, New York fifth grade student Gavin Kertzner received a special celebration from his mom. "Gavin is in his last year of elementary school and will never step foot in the school he has spent his childhood as a student again. I want to do everything in my power to make up for this with celebrations that include our family, friends (and teachers!)," mom Seri Kertzner shared on Instagram. "While we won't be together in real life, I will do all that I can to make these celebrations memorable." 

Don't forget the presents! See what E! News recommends for the graduating class and their amazing teachers

For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and for tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov. To plan your vaccine, head to NBC's Plan Your Vaccine site at PlanYourVaccine.com.