BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Starting just after 8 p.m. Golden Valley High School's class of 2020 in-person graduation began with potentially 1,000 in attendance.
After weeks of uncertainty, if they would all be present due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It feels great, I thought this day would never really happen," said Jayedin Harrington, a graduate.
Many students sharing with 23ABC, how grateful they are to have this experience with loved ones.
"For my parents that came with nothing but gave me everything, they came from El Salvador before I was even born to give me a better life,"said Jocelyn Lazo, a graduate. "So I want to demonstrate that in my cap and gown that I do it all for them."
School district officials say even with concerns from the Kern County Public Health Department about the large number of participants attending the graduation, they believe the district planned accordingly.
"You know my role as principal is to create the safest environment on campus for this event," said Paul Helman, principal of Golden Valley High School.
"The board of trustees voted to have it so when they did that we started the pre-planning, that included the district and county guidelines."
Some other unique additions to this gradation are the following.
All guests were required by the Kern High School District to wear masks.
The school upon arrival also handed out bulldog designed masks, water, and hand sanitizer.
KHSD board members said they would hold graduation ceremonies until a governmental agency said otherwise.
Monday’s ceremony only allowed two guests per graduate who were seated with them on the field.
"I woke up today saying wow this is it," said Pedro Rodriguez, a graduate.
"I know some schools aren't doing this and they won't have the chance to do this and it's kind of heartbreaking. I’m just really blessed to have a school like this, to give us this opportunity. "
Despite all the changes to the graduation celebration, Monday's ceremony ended with a unified message.
"There is the ability to rise up above this and that’s everything," Helman said. "There will be ups and downs and certainly right now and in our community, it is a downtime, but your destiny is in front of you. If you work hard you will get there."