LEESBURG, Fla. – Monday evening, Leesburg High School seniors got a second chance to walk across the stage for graduation — but this time, with a little less rain.
The school hosted the ceremony in the gymnasium as an attempt to make up for the graduating seniors’ experience at the initial ceremony last Friday, when stormy weather stole the show.
Desleyana Gordon said she never expected to end her time in high school like this. She showed up at the high school Monday for the recognition ceremony with little enthusiasm.
“I’m just going to take my pictures, so my family can actually get to see it,” she said.
She said getting good pictures in her cap and gown at the first ceremony wasn’t possible because she was drenched from head to toe.
Last Friday, the commencement was met by harsh weather. Rain dumped on students as they collected their diplomas, and families fled to their cars when lightning struck.
Gordon said she and her peers were still rushed across the stage during the downpour.
“Dripping with water like I just jumped in the pond or something, and my hair was dripping. We were trying to cover up with our diplomas they had given us,” Gordon said.
Parents raved about it on social media, demanding students get a second graduation.
The school planned an alternative ceremony, but this time, students could only invite three guests.
“Either way, it’s not enough,” Gordon said.
It was a stipulation Gordon and her family called disappointing.
Her mother, Unique Williams, said she was displeased with the way school administrators handled everything.
“I’m not happy about it because I think it’s unfair to us and everyone else that has a big family,” Williams said.
A spokesperson for the school stated they could only offer three tickets per student because the school gym only holds up to 1200 people.
They added that the city of Leesburg needs to develop more indoor facilities that can hold large groups of people for events like this.
Regardless, families said the administration made a bad call and should have rescheduled the ceremony after learning there was a big chance it would rain.
“It was just crushing because we thought it was [going to] be rescheduled because it was raining so hard, but it seems that they didn’t care enough to change it,” Williams said.
If you are seeking a refund for any additional tickets, you can contact the school principal at Randolphm@lake.k12.fl.us.