NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – One high school created a three-day outside graduation event to keep its students safe and stick to social distancing guidelines, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Friday, 98 graduates from Stem Preparatory Academy actually walked outside onto a stage to receive their diplomas. One at a time, they walked across the stage. 

COVID-19 has stopped that from happening at most schools. But, officials at this particular school wouldn’t let that happen.

Many graduates were from foreign countries. They enrolled at Stem Preparatory Academy in fifth grade as underachievers in math and language. On Friday, every one of them is headed to college.

“It feels good, it once felt impossible to me," Jean Amani, who came here from Uganda, said. “I’m the first kid from my family to graduate high school so this is so surprising”

His family is so proud.

“You can see it in their eyes, they may not be able to say it, but they are very proud of me.”

Stories like that are why a ceremony here had to happen. Kristin McGraner, who is the Founder Stem Prep Academy, and believes in it.

“It matters deeply to us that our kids would have a graduation ceremony. They’ve worked so hard they’ve worked through things that you and I can’t even imagine," McGraner said. "So to honor them was never a question, it was just a matter of how.”

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Feature Reporter

Terry Bulger has been bringing you stories of the people and places that make Tennessee unique and interesting on News4 since 1990. Contact Terry if you have an interesting community story for him to cover.

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