San Antonio high school seniors looking forward to in-person graduation ceremonies

Northside ISD prepares to host high school graduations at Alamodome

SAN ANTONIO – The past school year included distance learning, mask mandates in schools and canceled graduation ceremonies due to the ongoing pandemic. Now that there are no state-mandated COVID-19 restrictions, some San Antonio high school seniors are looking forward to a traditional graduation ceremony.

For high school seniors Elise Zuniga and Emily Ford, learning from home and outside of a classroom has been a challenge for many reasons, such as not seeing their classmates.

“I was so used to just being around the school environment and seeing my friends every day to suddenly not being able to see the people I’m with every day was a little weird,” Zuniga said.

The Northside and the North East independent school districts will have 2021 commencement ceremonies at the Alamodome.

Valerie Sisk, principal at Warren High School, said it has always been a tradition to have graduation at the Alamodome, and they are looking forward to having it there once again.

“The possibility of having a graduation in the Alamodome was very exciting for us because we know that for many, many years. That’s what our families have been used to,” Sisk said.

The excitement is a shared sentiment between students and parents alike. The opportunity of celebrating an academic achievement amid a year of so much change and loss is something for which many families are ready.

“My mom gets very emotional because I did lose my grandpa to COVID, and she wanted him to experience me graduating and walking the stage. So for her finding out that I’m actually going to graduate and be able to walk on stage was very exciting,” Zuniga said.

Ford said she wasn’t expecting to have a graduation ceremony but is thankful in knowing she, along with the rest of the class, will be able to have one safely.

“It’s just going to be so crazy seeing everybody else that you didn’t get to see this year, especially during the pandemic,” Ford said.

Graduation events will be adhering to safety protocols set forth by the school districts and the Alamodome. NISD and NEISD will be giving six tickets per senior.

About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

Before starting KSAT in 2017, Lee was a photojournalist at KENS 5, where he won a Lone Star Emmy in 2014 for Best Weather Segment. In 2009 and 2010 Lee garnered first-place awards with the Texas Association of Broadcasters for Best Investigative Series in College Station, as well as winning first place for Staff Photojournalism in 2011 at KBTX.