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Kiona Mitchell, the self-appointed valedictorian of the 2020 graduation class, gives a speech at the Milcon Clubhouse on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, June 13, 2020. A local active-duty military spouse orchestrated the special graduation to give students a chance to celebrate their achievement after schools cancelled their graduations due to pandemic, and included procedures and restrictions in place to prevent COVID-19 transmission. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cheng Chang/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Cheng Chang

A brighter future: special graduation held in MCAS Miramar

19 Jun 2020 | Lance Cpl. Cheng Chang Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

Thanks to a few active-duty military spouses, 2020’s graduating students who reside on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, received a special private graduation held June 13, 2020.

Once Elizabeth Burns, the head of a local event organization company, realized that air station students would not receive their own graduation ceremony because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she teamed up with two other Miramar spouses to orchestrate a small ceremony.
“I was approached by Audrey (Walker) and Michelle (Sreng) to organize a celebration for their son, and I thought, ‘well let’s try to make it a community event.’” said Burns.

The event was hosted at the Milcon Clubhouse located on MCAS Miramar base housing and included procedures and restrictions in place to prevent COVID transmission. It allowed for students of all ages to attend, including graduates ranging from elementary-age children through adult college students.

“We knew the kids couldn’t have a graduation, so we wanted to do something for them to show our appreciation,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Isiah Burns, the husband of Elizabeth Burns. “Just because this is going on, it doesn’t stop the celebration on their big day. It’s our way of supporting them, whether that be their accomplishment in graduating from elementary, middle school, high school, or college.”

More than 20 graduates and their families were also rewarded with food and refreshments as a way of congratulating them on their achievements before they head home for summer.

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