Cincinnati high school sends off seniors with unique graduation ceremony

Published: Apr. 30, 2020 at 6:11 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Wednesday was graduation day at Dohn Community High School, and the mood remained festive even without the hugs, the handshakes and the big crowds.

Graduates donned caps and gowns — and gloves, and masks — to receive their diplomas. They were greeted by family members ready with an elbow bump and warm smiles.

Dohn Director Ramone Davenport refused to let the pandemic stop the school’s graduating seniors from celebrating.

“Students have worked their tails off!” Davenport said. “I have to keep the motivation in the spirit of them, so they can get this high-school diploma then go on to the next level. That’s what it’s about.”

Dohn is a charter school in Cincinnati’s Walnut Hills neighborhood. It has around 1,000 total students, 98 percent of whom are at or below the poverty line.

Some 30 percent are on parole.

But at Dohn, the students have found a new beginning — and a way forward.

That includes graduating senior Prince Dixon, who says he came to Dohn after being bullied in school.

“At first I was kind of nervous,” Dixon recalled. “But I see everyone supporting me and clapping me on, so I was happy at the end.”

Dixon’s next stop will be the University of Cincinnati - Blue Ash, where he plans to study computer science and electronic media Ttchnology with an emphasis on game design and a minor in physics.

Fellow senior Tasean Moore also says he was bullied in school. He says he fought back, which landed him in jail for 18 months. Afterwards, he found Dohn, and he says the bullying stopped.

Moore explains Dohn has given him confidence and a new outlook on life.

“Don’t let nobody get under your skin baby. Be you!” Moore advised. “Forget everybody, no matter what they got to say. Just be happy and put a smile on your face.”

Moore plans to attend Hocking College to study Nursing. He says the pandemic’s prohibitions didn’t gotten in the way of him cherishing the day and that he’ll remember it forever.

“It was better than the real graduation, so I don’t care!”

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