Desert Oasis High School celebrated 2020 graduating class last Thursday

by CASEY MCCARTHY
Staff Writer | July 19, 2020 8:03 PM

OTHELLO — While it may have been later in the summer than expected, the smiles and excitement were still visible as graduating seniors crossed the stage at Desert Oasis High School’s 2020 graduation ceremonies last Thursday evening in Othello.

Thanks to an extension for students to complete their required credits this summer due to COVID-19, Desert Oasis Principal Joshua Tovar said they were able to have 11 more graduates than expected receive their diploma.

Tovar said a lot of students, and adults, weren’t sure graduation would ever happen, but said it felt great to finally be able to cap off this journey for his students.

“I’m glad this event happened for these kids, I’m glad we were able to hopefully make it as special as we thought it was for them,” Tovar said. “Just above anything else, we just want the kids to know we’re super, super proud of them, our whole staff is.”

After not seeing his students in months, Tovar said it was rewarding to see everyone together again. Knowing a lot of these kids since long before he took the head principal job three years ago, he said he knows the struggles his students have faced to reach this milestone.

“Some of them worked really, really hard, both in school and out of school,” Tovar said. “Some of our kids, they are the main financial provider for their families. So I know how much this means for their families, and I know how hard they worked.”

Tovar said on Thursday that he knows the next day would just be back to normal for many of his students. But, he said it’s still an accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated, knowing how much it means to their families.

“For us, every student that graduates hopefully sets a trend for the student that follows them, whether they’re freshmen or juniors,” Tovar said. “Hopefully, they see themselves up here someday and know they’re able to do it as well and just to get to that next step in life.”

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune 2020 Desert Oasis High School graduate Jesus Garcia poses for a photo with family and friends who came out to support him last Thursday, July 16, in Othello.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune 2020 Desert Oasis High School graduate Andre Dickerson poses for a photo with family on stage at the high school’s graduation ceremony on Thursday, July 16.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune Othello School Board member Ken Johnson, Desert Oasis graduate Kevin Rafalian, and Othello School District Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Hurst pose for a photo together on stage as Rafalian is honored alongside his fellow 2020 Desert Oasis High School graduates last Thursday evening.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune Desert Oasis High School graduates take photos and bide their time as they wait for their chance to walk across the stage at the 2020 graduation ceremony on Thursday, July 16.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune Amy Prieto and her fellow 2020 Desert Oasis High School graduates wait patiently for their chance to cross the stage and receive their diploma at the school’s graduation celebration last Thursday.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune Desert Oasis graduate Adrian Velasquez poses for a photo after receiving his diploma cover at the high school’s 2020 graduation ceremony last Thursday evening.

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Casey/The Sun Tribune Desert Oasis High School graduate Kenisha Bailey makes her way towards the stage last Thursday as Othello School District Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Hurst waits to greet her with Othello School Board member Ken Johnson.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune Desert Oasis High School graduates Kenisha Bailey and Julian Flores celebrate together before graduation ceremonies begin last Thursday evening in Othello.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune Julian Flores and fellow Desert Oasis graduate Pedro Villanueva pose for a photo together after celebrating their 2020 graduation last Thursday evening in Othello.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune Diploma covers fill the table on stage at Desert Oasis High School’s 2020 graduation ceremony last Thursday evening in Othello.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune Juan Sanchez and fellow Desert Oasis High School graduates line up as they wait for their turn to cross the stage at the school’s 2020 graduation celebration in Othello.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune 2020 Desert Oasis graduate Samantha Prieto poses for a family photo on stage at the high school’s graduation celebration last Thursday evening in Othello.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune 2020 Desert Oasis High School graduate Fernando Sayas can’t help but smile as he takes in a hug after crossing the stage at the school’s graduation celebration on Thursday, July 16.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune 2020 Desert Oasis graduate Eduardo Garcia poses with family members for a photo on stage after receiving his diploma cover on Thursday, July 16.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald Joses Montes smiles with his mother beside him for a photo on stage as he celebrates graduating as a member of Desert Oasis High School’s 2020 class.

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Casey McCarthy/The Sun Tribune 2020 Desert Oasis High School graduates Saul Perez and Jesus Garcia celebrate together after making their way across the stage, celebrating with friends and family.