Original article available here LINK
Cincinnati – The Enquirer 4/20/2020

Monday’s announcement that Ohio schools will remain closed won’t stop one Ohio superintendent from spreading a little graduation goodwill.

Beginning next week, Ramone Davenport will deliver diplomas to the homes of Dohn Community High School graduating seniors.

The school superintendent said that even though the dropout recovery charter program can’t hold its graduation ceremony for the thousands who normally attend, he wants his seniors to experience closure.

So Davenport will head over to many of the expected 250 graduates, in a mask and gloves. From the lawn or sidewalk, at least six feet away from others, Davenport will attempt to recreate that graduation feeling, just on a much smaller scale. He’ll make remarks about the student as immediate family members look on, and he may impart some general life advice before distributing diplomas.

“That’s going to be the tricky part,” Davenport said of physically transferring diplomas while maintaining distance. He said he’ll likely use some sort of extension tool to pull it off.

Many of Davenport’s students left other schools before enrolling in credit recovery programs at Dohn, which has seven schools including a main campus in East Walnut Hills.

Davenport said anything from pregnancies to suspensions to parents frequently moving have contributed to students seeking stability at Dohn.

“All of that stuff plays a big role in the kid’s educational gap because they’re not able to get their school work because they’re worried about their home life,” Davenport said.

More than 90% of Dohn students are considered economically disadvantaged by the Ohio Department of Education, and one in four has a disability.

Davenport said he’ll recommend only parents and the student attend the home ceremonies, and he’ll ask them to wear masks.

He’s hopeful a standard graduation will be possible in August.

“I’m not going to allow this coronavirus to halt the plans of these particular individuals who have worked their tails off,” Davenport said.