Round Lake High School graduates get diplomas in festive car parade
Class of 2020
  • Maria Guadalupe Orozco Loa picks up her diploma during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday.

      Maria Guadalupe Orozco Loa picks up her diploma during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Virgilio Jesus Perez is greeted by an entertainer during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday.

      Virgilio Jesus Perez is greeted by an entertainer during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Anthony Barajas Davila picks up his diploma during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday.

      Anthony Barajas Davila picks up his diploma during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Kate Herrera receives her diploma from Round Lake Area CUSD 116 board member Jennifer Klinger during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday.

      Kate Herrera receives her diploma from Round Lake Area CUSD 116 board member Jennifer Klinger during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Round Lake Area CUSD 116 board member Jennifer Klinger hands Juan Ocompo his diploma during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday.

      Round Lake Area CUSD 116 board member Jennifer Klinger hands Juan Ocompo his diploma during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Diplomas are ready for distribution during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday.

      Diplomas are ready for distribution during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Left to right, teachers Katelyn Edwards, Vrunda Hingu and Nick Miller congratulate graduates during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday.

      Left to right, teachers Katelyn Edwards, Vrunda Hingu and Nick Miller congratulate graduates during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Seniors in cars driven by their family members make their way to pick up their diplomas during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday.

      Seniors in cars driven by their family members make their way to pick up their diplomas during the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • A decorated car is part of the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday.

      A decorated car is part of the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020" at Round Lake High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/30/2020 5:00 PM

Round Lake High School graduates dressed in their caps and gowns received diplomas in a festive, carnival-like atmosphere during a drive-through parade at the school on Saturday.

Dubbed the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020," around 520 graduates picked up their diplomas while seated in cars, many of which were decorated with balloons and signs, with their families.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The annual commencement ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The whole purpose behind this was just to give our kids a memorable experience," said Superintendent Donn Mendoza of Round Lake Area Community Unit School District 116. "In some ways the parents get to live it with their kids, because they are right next to them there in their cars."

A long line of cars wound its way from the area where diplomas were being distributed, around the back of the school and into the adjacent neighborhood. Professional entertainers such as clowns, jugglers, stilt-walkers and a mariachi band provided entertainment along the way.

Graduate Virgilio Jesus Perez said he missed not having a regular graduation, but he did like Saturday's event.

"It's pretty fun, actually. It's different," Perez said. "It's not like the other classes."

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