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Living Images

Don Seabrook | Seeing graduation 2020

This past week, Eastmont High School held a drive-thru cap and gown photography session to prepare for their virtual graduation on June 5 and to have a celebration of sorts for the graduates.

I was able to photograph the first day of the three-day-long event.

Talking to administrators, I was able to get a good idea of what the process was and headed to a line of cars waiting their turn to drop off their seniors for the first of two photograph stations. That’s where I found Audrie Benge standing through the sunroof of her car.

I waited for her to get to the front of the line and LeAnne Branam reached to give her an honor cord. I liked this moment as the ends of the chord swung in the air and both their facial reactions were very joyful.

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Eastmont High School graduate Audrie Benge receives a graduation cord from LeAnne Branam during the first of three days of drive through cap and gown ceremonies at the school Tuesday, May 26, 2020. 

On assignments like these where a traditional event has been drastically changed, I look for moments that communicate the differences.

An overall photograph of the stage set up in front of the school where seniors received their diploma cover was on my mental checklist and I waited for a reaction from a graduate or in this case from the photographer.

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Alison Bennett receives her diploma cover and is photographed Tuesday, May 26, 2020, on Eastmont High School's auditorium stage that was hauled out in front of the school for cap and gown photographs.

Then I moved to a spot pairing the stage image with a photograph of parents on a platform the school had set up to allow families to cheer their graduates.

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Eastmont High School graduates' families cheer and photograph them as they walk onto a stage to receive their diploma cover during a cap and gown drive through event at the front of the school Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Other differences I noticed were a graduate bringing his dog to the stage and a group of relatives with their graduate in the back of a truck as they went through the process.

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Oscar Calvillo holds his dog Benji for his senior graduation photograph at a drive-through event Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at Eastmont High School.

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Eastmont graduate Jasmine Bachman's family rides in a truck with her on her way to receive her diploma cover during a drive-through cap and gown event at the school Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

But some of what I saw and photographed I would have expected to see on any Friday night graduation ceremony at a stadium — tennis shoes walking across a stage, happy graduates with their diploma covers and decorated caps.

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Eastmont graduate Audrie Benge moves off a stage marker after her photograph was taken Tuesday, May 26, 2020, during a drive-through photo opportunity.

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Olivia Van Osten holds up her diploma cover after picking it up on a stage in front of Eastmont High School Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

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Eastmont senior graduate Kieahna Carson wears her personalized cap to the cap and gown photo ceremony at the school Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

And kisses from mothers happy to see their sons and daughters accomplishing their goals.

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Eastmont graduate Tanner Cornett receives a kiss from his mother, Shannon Cox, after he received his diploma cover and was photographed at the school Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Photo Editor Don Seabrook: (509)661-5225

Photo Editor

I was born in Wenatchee, went to Eastmont High School, graduated from the University of Washington with a communications degree in journalism. I have a wife and three children.

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