Thousands brave heat at FUSD's only outdoor graduation ceremony

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thousands of students and spectators at a Fresno Unified graduation ceremony had to brave the triple-digit temperatures in the school's football stadium on Tuesday.

This is not exactly what students at McLane High School had in mind when they pictured their high school graduation: Sweltering heat as their family and friends gathered at the gates and sat in the hot sun to watch them walk the stage on one of the happiest days of their lives.

"It's really hot and with our emotions running high, you know, it's really hot, but it's an enjoyable hot," said Angela Hernandez, a spectator.

When asked what she planned on doing to stay cool, Monica Avelar, a spectator, said, "Fanning myself and drinking lots of water."

At the start of the ceremony, students gathered in the cafeteria to keep cool in their caps and gowns.

"Just ready to go, ready to get it over with and start this new journey in life; see what life has in store for me," said McLane High graduate Mason Brewster.

And the room later served as a cooling center for students and spectators seeking shelter from the triple-digit heat.

"We also have our boys basketball team that will be distributing water, and we also have big thermoses of ice water to give to people in the event that they need that," said McLane High School Principal Scott Lamm.

The McLane High School graduation was a stark contrast to what other schools like Bullard and Fresno High experienced at the Save Mart Center.

"It's our only stadium graduation in Fresno Unified. It's an exciting environment, it really is. You'll see the fireworks go off before the kids go out. I mean, it's the best that we have to offer in Fresno," said McLane Vice Principal Peter Pulos.

Despite the heat, friends and family Action News talked with said they'd do it again just to watch these kids embark on a new chapter in their lives.

"Oh, I'd wait two hours, three hours in the hot line to see her graduate," said Hernandez.

Principal Scott Lamm said no one suffered any heat-related problems, and once the sun went down it was a beautiful evening.

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