El Molino held its first-ever drive-thru/walk-up graduation on June 4. Families piloted gaily decorated cars on to the campus and wound their way out to the track. Graduates jumped out of the cars and walked up onto the graduation stage to get their diplomas, greeted by principal Matt Dunkle in a mask.
Here's a video of the whole event.
Dunkle wrote a moving letter to all members of the class of 2020. We reprint it here:
Graduating from high school is a deep rooted cultural rite of passage in our society. We know that many students will move forward from high school and begin the next phase of their lives. For many, this will be by enrolling in a junior college, college, university, or technical program. For others it may mean enlisting in the military. Others may find themselves entering the workforce. While others may find themselves taking a gap year to explore the various opportunities available to them. Whichever is chosen, it will most likely only serve as the next step in the lives of our graduates.
The El Molino High School Class of 2020 is prepared for not only what they choose, but whatever may be unexpectedly thrown at them. Our El Molino graduates have engaged in a meaningful and relevant curriculum that has helped prepare them to successfully embark on the next journey of their lives. Many of our graduates have also participated in extra-curricular and volunteer activities that have provided them with opportunities to further grow and develop necessary life skills. These endeavors also enhanced our students’ abilities to interact successfully in circumstances that promote challenges and obstacles that force them to persist through adversity in search of positive outcomes. Life can be difficult and unfair. Often these hurdles are not of our own making. But, our graduates have learned the importance of resilience and persistence.
The high school experience in and of itself can be difficult. Our graduates have had this compounded by wildfires, floods, and a pandemic. Some would use these experiences as an excuse to stop pursuing their high school diploma and their dreams for life after high school. Our El Molino graduates have not chosen to be defeated and allow circumstance to dictate how their lives will be lead. Instead, our graduates have demonstrated resilience and persistence by earning their El Molino diploma. They have not accepted path of least resistance. Our graduates have moved forward, undaunted by these setbacks, in pursuit of fulfilling the goals they have set for themselves, not what has been hoisted upon them by forces beyond their control. No, it has not always been easy. Some have faced struggles that we can only imagine and others have overcome difficulties that tested their mettle beyond what they believed was capable.
We are so proud of each member of the El Molino High School Class of 2020. They have achieved success through adversity. These trials will only allow them to achieve greater success beyond high school. We wish you each the best as you embark on the path you have sought to travel. As you prepare for your next adventure, remember we will always be here for you because as much as you have each overcome on your own, you have also done it with the assistance of at least one other individual. And, now more than ever, Together, We are El Molino! Congratulations, El Molino High School Class of 2020!
-El Molino High School Principal, Matt Dunkle