Huntington Beach High celebrates class of 2020 with drive-through graduation

Graduate Brandon Ferrin
Graduate Brandon Ferrin, center, celebrates with his mother, Jana, grandfather, Larry Petersen, girlfriend, Kamy Truelove, from left, father, Josh, cousins, Makena and Isabel, and grandmother, Peggy, from right, just before the drive-through graduation at Huntington Beach High School on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Though they are twins, Michael and Patrick McCormick took different paths to their graduation from Huntington Beach High School.

Michael, who will play football at Orange Coast College, was a two-year starter at defensive tackle for the football team and was named team captain his senior year.

Patrick, who will major in musical theater at USC, was part of the musical theater department for the Academy for Performing Arts charter program.

They sat in a car together Wednesday, along with their parents. The McCormick twins were part of a drive-through graduation on the Huntington Beach High campus. Campuses around the Huntington Beach Unified High School District are doing modified drive-through graduations, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 700 Huntington Beach High students graduated throughout the day, showing up in a time range depending on their last names. They were given their diploma, a Huntington Beach face mask and a mug before walking across the stage, which was set up in the parking lot. Then they got back in the car with their families and drove away.

“With this situation, it allows you to reflect on everything a lot clearer,” Patrick McCormick said. “Realistically, we’re not doing anything else, so all we have is time to think and remember all of the things we did in high school. If anything, even though it’s different, it almost makes it more special.”

“I think it shows the strength of our community to be able to put on this graduation, even though the situation makes it so that we can’t really have a normal one,” he said.

Ashley Adams, with an “A” last name, was one of the first Oiler graduates to walk across the stage shortly after 8 a.m. She said she had to wake up at 6 a.m. to prepare.

Brandon Ferrin drives to Huntington Beach High School for a drive-through graduation on Wednesday.
Brandon Ferrin drives to Huntington Beach High School for a drive-through graduation on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“It was quick,” said Adams, who played varsity girls’ soccer for two years and is headed to Washington State. “It was good to see the teachers one last time ... It’s a strange time, but [there’s] some happiness in it.”

Olivia Ooms said she had some fun with the format. She posed for different pictures on the stage, and said she planned to go to the beach with fellow graduates later Wednesday to take more pictures.

Ooms, who will major in psychology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, could write a song about her experience in quarantine. She’s a country music singer/songwriter and she said she plans to continue pursuing that in college.

“It was actually more fun than I was expecting,” Ooms said of the drive-through graduation. “All of the teachers were lined up, congratulating us, and it was really great to see everyone’s faces again after being apart for so long.”

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