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When a high school senior walks across the stage to receive their diploma, it often feels like they are taking their first steps into adulthood. Jackie Peña planned to speak on that stage and pour her heart out to all the other students. She says she is “the first [in my family] to graduate in the top 10 of my class. So graduation for me was kind of like my perfect dream.”

For the Class of 2020, however, that milestone ended up feeling very different. Proms were canceled, party plans altered, and traditional graduation ceremonies were delayed and held in new socially distant ways. Despite the changes, principals, teachers, and school leaders worked tirelessly to ensure that their high school seniors’ accomplishments were celebrated.

In our third episode of Intersect Ed, hosted by Raise Your Hand Texas’ Alejandro Izaguirre, we will hear from several members of the Class of 2020 in Houston about how school closures and emergency remote learning impacted their final semester of high school. School leaders and educators will also share the ways they tried to help these seniors navigate their final days of high school in the midst of a global pandemic.

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