PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Ponte Vedra High School students are hoping the City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Jaguars can make their graduation dreams come true.
The students wrote a letter to the city and to Shad Khan asking if they could hold an in-person graduation at TIAA Bank Field.
St. Johns County schools canceled in person graduations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The students at Ponte Vedra High School feel TIAA Bank Field has plenty of room where they can graduate safely with their class.
“We have a pretty large class, around 450 people, so the capacity of the stadium is far greater than that so that would be really easy, really reasonable to have everyone safely be distant," said Victor Polisetty, a PVHS senior.
Several other schools in the area found ways to have their in-person graduations while keeping a safe distance, the students said.
Chase Magnano, Lakshay Goyal and Polisetty wrote a letter saying in part: “Our school district is one of the only school districts in Florida to not have an in-person graduation celebration…our classmates were crushed, we felt we had been robbed.”
“To all be together for one last time to celebrate our four years at Ponte Vedra, but 12 years of hard work and effort and growing together, learning so much, not just from school but from each other, and to just be together one last time to say goodbye and to close this chapter of our life would mean so much,” said Magnano.
Last week, the seniors had a virtual graduation but they feel it wasn’t the same.
“As we attended our virtual graduation, we saw other schools having their in-person commencements and to be honest with you, that was the part that kind of galvanized this whole reach out to the city type deal because we saw all these schools being able to do this in person, saying goodbye to their class one last time," Goyal said.
The seniors say they respect the decisions made to stay safe from COVID-19 but they hope the city and Khan can bless their wishes to have a safe graduation in the stadium.
If the students are allowed to have their ceremony at the stadium, they say the proceeds for the graduation would go towards Port in the Storm, a St. Augustine organization that helps homeless youths.
News4Jax reached out to the City of Jacksonville for comment Monday, but with it being a holiday, their offices are closed.
Those wishing to help the senior’s graduation efforts can email the group at Pvgradmovement@gmail.com.