Graduation 2020 is memorable, but not for typical reasons

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Amber Goring is a lifelong resident of Inglewood who attended Grand Arts in downtown LA. She's come to terms with a memorable but unorthodox senior year that saw a pandemic, classes moved online, and nationwide protests. Photo courtesy of Amber Goring.

Thousands of high school students in LA are graduating this week. What’s next for them, well, everyone is trying to figure that out. Among those sporting a cap and gown is Amber Goring, an Inglewood native who’s getting her diploma from Grand Arts in downtown LA.

“I've missed a lot of the closure that I was really excited for, like talking to my teachers for the last time, and my last classes, and our last dance showcase. I feel like I've lost a lot of the little moments that I was looking forward to,” she says.  

She adds, “This is going to be memorable no matter what. But going to prom with your friends and walking across the stage, those are the things that I'm going to miss not having.” 


Amber Goring is a Berkeley-bound senior graduating from Grand Arts in downtown LA. She plans to study sociology at Cal. Photo courtesy of Amber Goring.

On top of the coronavirus pandemic, protests against police violence have swept the country. Goring says she’s been participating from home. That means signing petitions, posting on social media, spreading awareness, and making donations. She says she didn’t physically go to the protests because she was staying with her grandparents and didn’t want to put them at risk.  

“But I feel like it [protests] has shaped my experience. … This has brought up a lot of the school culture that the Black students have endured. … It's brought up conversations in our school about race. … And it shows where the teachers are, and how they would react in situations like this, and how our administration would react ending off the year like this. … It brought up a lot of things within my school that needed to be addressed,” she says.

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Matt Guilhem