Brandon High School’s Class of 2020 held a drive through celebration at the school last month.

With the end of the 2019-2020 school year moved to eLearning and high school graduations postponed to July or possibly cancelled, the community has taken it into its own hands to celebrate the Class of 2020 in unique ways with parades, signs and more.

“Our district’s graduates have so much to be proud of and to celebrate. Though it is not the end of their senior year that anyone could have predicted or wanted, their accomplishments and recognitions will shine far brighter than any national emergency,” said Hillsborough County Public Schools’ Tanya Arja. “More than 13,000 seniors in Hillsborough County Public Schools will obtain their high school diploma this year and continue their future plans in college, the military or directly into a rewarding career.”

Arja added that the district is continuing to monitor CDC guidelines and recommendations from the Florida Department of Health.

“Our district’s graduation committee was proactive, making alternate plans to ensure all seniors have the opportunity to experience the graduation ceremony they deserve,” she said. “Instead of graduation ceremonies in May, our district’s tentative plan is to hold traditional ceremonies the week of July 13-26 at the Florida State Fairgrounds.”

Brandon High Seniors Celebrate With Parade

Brandon High School celebrated its 455 graduates last month at a drive-through cap and gown pickup event at the school. Teachers made signs and greeted the students to celebrate the end of their high school careers.

Brandon High is hoping to hold a traditional graduation ceremony at the Florida State Fairgrounds at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 13.

Bloomingdale Seniors Celebrate With Parade, Lip Dub And More

Many of the 589 graduates in Bloomingdale High School’s Class of 2020 picked up letters from friends and family on Friday, May 22, with a car parade attended by community members in addition to teachers and staff.

“Both the cap and gown pickup and our drive through graduation were put on by the Bloomingdale faculty and they were also great ways to make the seniors feel better,” said Audra Nikolajski, editor of the Bloomingdale High School yearbook.

The school was also able to keep up the annual traditions of the Senior Slideshow, which this year were posted on YouTube rather than shown at the Senior Breakfast as in the past, and Senior Lip Dub, which this year ended with the students singing “We’re All In This Together” in their caps and gowns.

Operation Lotus Rallies Community To Give To Seniors

Operation Lotus, a local charity with the mission of restoring hope to people experiencing loss or tragedy, recently teamed up with Amanda Grossman with Talk of the Party to surprise some local seniors.

Parents and community members nominated seniors and an online platform randomly chose the winners. The gift included items from Outback Steakhouse, Plant City, Culver’s of Brandon (Falkenburg Rd.), C&C Cookie Factory and Heavenly Creations, and community members, like Eblin Raush, donated gift cards, pens, books and candy.

For more information, visit

Bryan Hindman Electric Celebrates Graduates

The team at Bryan Hindman Electric, LLC wanted to celebrate their son, a senior at East Bay High School and other graduates in a safe way during the time of social distancing, so they decided to give out free lawn signs for members of the Class of 2020.

“It is heartbreaking for the students who have lost the opportunity to participate in the things they were looking forward to this year,” said Heather Hindman.

According to Hindman, students and their parents from all over the county took advantage of the free signs from the company.

For more information, call 672-4084.

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.