School Holds Early Graduation for Junior in Respect for Cancer Diagnosed Mother


Kate De La Torre, Broadcast Editor

Middle School Students held their pin and ribbon ceremony in the school gymnasium on November 19. Little did these students and their parents know that as they waited outside the gym for the clock to strike 6:00 p.m, a separate ceremony was occurring. 

On November 22, Virgen J. Alarcon, the mother of junior student-athlete, Yodeimi Dorantes, passed away. Alarcon was diagnosed with cancer in the pancreas roughly two years ago. As one of the only girls in her family, Dorantes has created a strong relationship with her mother. “I [constantly] remind myself that she [is] in a better place when she is no longer suffering,” Dorantes said.

 As a student in high school, a loss of a parent by death brings negative impacts on the student’s academic achievement, according to Still, Dorantes kept her grip on academics, all while things weren’t too positive at home. “It’s hard to think about school when you’re [concentrated] on something else…[but] I need to be strong for [my mom] and continue to do good in school,” Dorantes said. She looks forward to graduating in 2021, but most importantly, she looked forward to having her mom see her walk across the stage. 

Taking into consideration the lack of time she had with her mother, Dorantes soon decided to organize an “early” graduation photoshoot with the help of Principal Duran and Mr. Velasco, a counselor.  Duran shared that she went up to him and informed him about the family situation, and then proceeded to ask if she could borrow a cap and gown for a simple photo, which ultimately led to the staged graduation. ”It means a lot that a parent who is so sick still thinks that high school graduation is an honor,” Duran said.  


Therefore, on November 19, Duran and some of Dorantes’s closest friends arrived at the gym at 5:00 p.m. and held a private graduation ceremony. Her mother was not able to physically attend but the ceremony went on,  making sure that it was caught on film for Alarcon to witness. “[It’s] one of the things that all parents want to see…That’s the ultimate dream, to see their kid walk across [the stage] and be recognized,” Duran said. 

Dorantes received flower bouquets from her friends and her beloved teachers, wrapping up the “graduation” ceremony. “[The ceremony was] special… knowing that my mom isn’t gonna be here for when I graduate high school is really sad, but she’s still going to experience it before she goes,” said Dorantes. 

After the graduation ceremony, Dorantes and her family rushed home, eager to present the diploma provided by Duran. She finished the semester earlier than other students in order to spend time with her mother and expresses her gratitude towards Duran and Velasco. “I appreciate what they did for me, [especially] because it was last minute,” Dorantes said.  She shared that her mother was very happy and emotional, Dorantes had never imagined having to do something like this so early.