KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, NM. --
Team Kirtland came together to celebrate its graduating seniors with a parade and small ceremony at Hardin Field on Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 21, 2020.
While this day was not your typical graduation ceremony, the Kirtland community pulled together to make it just as memorable by hosting a parade and allowing seniors a chance to walk across a stage in traditional fashion.
“During this pandemic, our graduates have missed out on the opportunity to walk across the stage and be celebrated for this significant milestone in their life,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Raechael Evans, 377th Medical Group pharmacy flight chief. “We wanted to make sure they were recognized for all of their hard work, and as a military family, we made it happen.”
According to Evans, 27 seniors graduated from 17 different schools in the local area.
The event included a parade with the seniors riding in classic cars, fire trucks, security forces vehicles and decorated floats created by various groups and councils that volunteered their time and support.
U.S. Air Force Col. David S. Miller, 377th Air Base Wing commander, commenced the ceremony and gave congratulatory elbow bumps to each graduate as they walked across the stage.
“This wasn’t the day you thought you would have,” said Miller. “It’s certainly not the one your parents wanted to give you. It’s not what your schools wanted to give you. But this is an incredible day where there was an outreach of the heart from leaders that you didn’t even know to make sure you remembered this day.”
With the help of the community and leadership, the Class of 2020 was able to turn their tassels to the left side and officially graduate in front of their families.
“It’s such an amazing experience to be a part of a community that cares for everyone,” said Roree Stewart, graduate from Eldorado High School. “I feel very appreciative being able to relate to a community where we are all loved by so many people that we don’t even know. ”