It’s heart-breaking that high-school and college graduates this year have to miss so many special traditions, but we commend the community for going to great lengths to try to make graduates feel special.

Seniors, your community loves and is proud of you.

Nobody’s getting what they wanted this spring, but that’s the fault of COVID-19, not of anyone in this community. Clearly, the state will keep prohibiting large gatherings for months.

Rio Rancho Public Schools is planning activities to celebrate graduates. So far, the staff has decided to have online graduation speeches and a tassel ceremony, and committees at the high schools are working to plan more events.

Mayor Gregg Hull is declaring May 27 “Class of 2020 Day,” when most of the celebrations will occur. He and Deputy Mayor Bob Tyler planned a special recognition and raised $20,000 from local businesses to make it happen.

The recognition involves having signs with photos of Rio Rancho graduates printed and placed in the High Resort Sports Complex. Every graduate who goes to school — including home-school — here is invited, and they get to keep the signs after the display.

School-district employees already are running online schooling, handling administrative functions and taking care of their own families. On top of that, they’re looking for new ways to celebrate graduates with just a few weeks to figure it out.

Things that work in other place won’t necessarily work here.

Sure, Alamogordo Public Schools is doing a drive-through commencement. But that district has around 300 graduates, and ceremonies are happening over four days.

The city has about 1,300 graduates. Even if the schools held separate ceremonies at the same time, that means a week of commencement — and the resulting traffic congestion.

As to the city, municipal government and the schools are separate entities. It isn’t the city’s responsibility to conduct graduation events.

Yet, they’re doing it, when it’s surely time-consuming.

Also, businesses together donated $20,000 for the signs — despite most having decreased revenue. If that’s not whole-hearted support of graduates, we don’t know what is.

Other businesses are making videos or supporting graduates in other ways.

The Observer would like to commend everyone making such herculean efforts to recognize graduates. You help make Rio Rancho awesome!

If anyone has other ideas for celebrations, by all means, starting planning and figuring out how to pay for it. The community will support you.

But don’t complain about what others are doing. It tears down the people trying to honor your kids.

That example also teaches your children to focus on the negative and be unhappy, which is a great disservice to them. Everybody’s life will have unavoidable tough times, and we all need to focus on the positive to get through to brighter days.

This is a tough situation, but let’s appreciate the positive and encourage each other.


Editor’s note: The Observer special section celebrating RRPS and The ASK Academy graduates is scheduled for publication May 24 in conjunction with our regular edition.

We’ll also start running candidate questionnaires for the local primary races that day.