Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School graduates walk across stage while practicing social distancing

BRADLEY, Ill. (WLS) -- It's graduation day at Bradley Bourbonnais High School, and groups of students were able to cross the stage while staying safe.

It's the Kankakee County graduation they have been waiting years for, just not exactly how they thought it would be.

"I can say I never thought I would have a mask on," said senior Hunter Abrassart.

More than 400 students lined up in their cars on Wednesday, dressed in a cap, gown and mask to enter their high school 10 at a time.

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Inside, with safe social distancing in place, they had their senior graduation photo taken. Then moments later, students walked across the stage, alone, in an empty auditorium. But it was still memorable all the same.

"It was really cool," said Courtney Allen. "I'm really just glad that the administration is still doing something for us. It really means a lot since this is so hard for us right now, but I know a lot of schools are not getting anything really so I'm just really grateful."

It was no small feat putting it all together, but it was made possible with approval from the Illinois State Board of Education and then quickly put into action by fast-thinking school staff.

"These students have missed out on a lot of rites of passage that we experienced and we enjoyed in our youth," said Superintendent Scott Wakeley. "We want to make sure our kids know that somebody's fighting for them."

Parents weren't completely left out. Just on the other side of the auditorium, loved ones wait for their grads to cheer them on and celebrate a unique high school graduation.

"I'm glad he's graduating," said parent Chris Benoit. "I'm glad he's getting a ceremony also as a family would have loved to been able to see him walk across the stage and celebrate with him and his friends and classmates, it would have been nice."

Parents will be able to view the socially distanced graduation online on May 16, the school's original graduation day.
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