Brevard County high schools hold graduations amid COVID-19 concerns

There is a long-held tradition at Cocoa Beach High School.

Graduating seniors, like Shari Banal, cross the “Minuteman Bridge" and toss a coin in a nearby fountain.

“There's a belief that when seniors cross it and after they graduate, they get good luck and success in their lives,” Banal said.

Banal said they were luckier than some of their peers at other schools.

“I feel very grateful we even had this opportunity, because I know a lot of people in different places had their graduation virtual or had their diplomas mailed to them,” she said.

There they were on Sunday with groups of families and friends, wearing masks and keeping well apart from one another, moving step-by-step to pick up their diplomas.

Students and their families went from station to station inside the high school courtyard, taking photos as they went.

Graduates could even stand with a cardboard cut-out of the administrators to show them without wearing their masks for a photo opp.

Cocoa Beach High School Principal Mark Rendell said he wanted them to have as close to a traditional graduation as possible.

“They get their special moment as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. The families here get to celebrate with them. It's a pretty great way to have that tradition and still celebrate in our current coronavirus crisis,” he said.

Cocoa Beach High School was one of six Brevard County high schools holding graduation ceremonies on Saturday.

Graduating senior Declan Ridgeway said it was something they'd never forget.

“I'm glad they put in the effort. It really did pay off, and I know a lot of people will appreciate that they went through that, so a big thank you to the school for being able to do that,” he said.