Dunes and diplomas: Alabama high schoolers graduate at The Hangout
The familiar tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” fought against the sound of seagulls and the hum of tiny planes advertising beach-side seafood restaurants as students of the Alabama School of Math and Science’s 2020 class received their soon-to-be sandy diplomas.
With sweat dripping from their capped heads into their cloth masks, students from all over the state -- 57 counties represented -- cheered for the end of their 12th year. The graduation ceremony, one the students say they’ll never forget, came to fruition after brainstorming the best way to celebrate the students’ accomplishments while keeping everyone safe.
David Zislin, of Hangout Hospitality Group, offered up the courtyard and mainstage after hearing of the search. Zislin, a supporter of the school, is also the father of a graduate and current student. Derek Rowan, marketing manager at Hangout Hospitality, said the team was pumped to have the students experience this life milestone in such a unique way.
And most students were surprised they were given the chance to celebrate at all. “I didn’t expect to be nervous when I came here today,” said John Dotson, a graduating senior. “This is new. I never expect this. We’re in a new decade and we’re graduating at the beach. I’m so glad we’re actually getting to do this.”
Dotson was sad to miss out on all he did, especially prom. Alabama School of Math and Science students live on campus with roommates, so leaving what many considered home for three to four years was heartbreaking ...
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