Reopening New Jersey: Class of 2020 honored with in-person outdoor graduations in Paterson

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Paterson Public Schools began holding in-person outdoor high school graduation ceremonies Wednesday to honor the accomplishments of the Class of 2020.

The event followed a virtual commencement last month and was held at Eastside High School, which lost Principal Dr. Gerald Glisson to the coronavirus.

Students decked out in caps and gowns sat 6 feet apart at the socially distanced ceremony on the football field, with school officials saying they were determined to give the students the sendoff they deserved.

"It means a lot," graduate Isis Silva said. "It means I didn't quit like some other people because I thought I was going to quit at some point because I was tired of it. But it's good."

Related: New Jersey schools gear up to hold outdoor graduation ceremonies in July

The district has planned for a few celebrations to follow state guidelines, but this day was all about the students from the School of Government and Public Administration.

"I worked hard in my four years in the ROTC at this school, and I'm proud I made it," graduate Eddie Furman said. "No matter what, I made it...It's another step in my life. So I can do what I propose to do in my life."

Related: Newark high school graduates honored with drive-by celebration

In order to pull off graduations for every single graduating senior in the school district, officials are planning to hold 10 ceremonies within a few days. They are hoping the weather cooperates.

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