Tahoe High Schoolers Experience Perfect Social Distancing Graduation at 8,800 Feet Elevation

When the Covid-19 outbreak seemingly put the entire world on pause, school officials were faced with many obstacles in terms of the education of their students. One of the issues was how to address graduation, an important accomplishment in a young person’s life and a rite of passage on the path to adulthood. While many high schools had to cancel their graduation ceremonies, two South Lake Tahoe high schools concocted the perfect social distancing graduation at 8,000 feet elevation.

Around 300 students from South Lake Tahoe High School and Mt. Tallac took a ski lift to the top of Sierra-at-Tahoe this weekend to receive their diplomas in a less-than ordinary graduation celebration. It was a bittersweet ending to what had otherwise been a complicated ending to the senior’s high school experience.

The plan to hold the graduation at Sierra-at-Tahoe’s summit, sitting at 8,852 feet, was the idea of Lake Tahoe Unified School District Superintendent Jim Tarwater, who saw a similar graduation and reached out to the ski resort to discuss the viability of the event. After speaking to the ski resort’s manager, John Rice, the plan to bring the students up the mountain using the ski lift was officially in motion.

The students took the Grandview Express up to the top of ski resort over the weekend to receive their diplomas and snap a rare photo in their gowns with Pyramid Peak in the background. While the event was a far cry from the usual graduation experience, it was a unique opportunity for the students to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Here are some of the photos from the event:

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This better go in the history books

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Congrats @southtahoehs #classof2020 #seniors!

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we outski 🎓

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guess i’ll just cry then

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