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By Julia Esobar and Christina Campodonico | Photos by Luis Chavez

Graduating Venice High seniors had a drive-thru graduation celebration at the foot of the storied high school’s Venice Boulevard campus on the morning of June 12.

From 9 a.m. to noon, over 200 Venice High seniors (now graduates) and their families were a part of a graduation parade that ran from the back of the high school’s gym, up Walgrove Avenue and then onto Venice Boulevard, where the lane closest to the school was closed especially for the parade.

Feted with congratulatory banners and posters lining fences and teachers’ cars, students drove up to the front of the school with their families — some even in fancy blue and red convertibles or classic cars. After exiting their vehicles, students posed for photos in front of a step and repeat banner in front of the Myrna Loy Statue. This way, every student got their moment in the spotlight. Even LAUSD District 4 representative Nick Melvoin dropped by for an hour to take pictures with the graduates.

Sophie Sabbah, a Venice High teacher and former swim coach, organized the drive-thru graduation. “It was the best thing ever because just the look in the eyes of the parents and the kids and the tears, it just made such a huge difference, I knew that this was going to be an amazing gift for them, especially with what’s going on right now with being on lockdown and not being able to finish the semester,” said Sabbah.

Since seniors weren’t able to celebrate their achievement with a traditional live graduation, Sabbah wanted to make sure that they left Venice High in a memorable way.

“It was just so wonderful because Venice is such a huge family,” she says. “We always have each other’s back. We are always there for each other. I love it. That’s what makes us feel so special.”