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Graduation season kicks off in Kern County

Graduation season is well underway in Kern County.

It won't be hard to spot the differences between this year and graduations of the past. There will be more masks, spaced-out seating and outdoor venues are standard. But this year is also starting to look like a return to form compared to last year's ceremonies, which were held during a particularly uncertain period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Garces Memorial High School, which will see its 2021 class graduate on Tuesday night, is providing a preview of what it may look like when the class of 2021 receives its diplomas.

In previous years, Garces graduation had been hosted at the Mechanics Bank Arena Convention Center. Last year, the private Catholic school hosted a drive-thru for its graduates.

On Monday, Garces Memorial High was making preparations for its commencement ceremony to be held on its athletic field Tuesday night. And the school revisited one pre-pandemic tradition on Monday evening: hosting an in-person Baccalaureate Mass for its 117 graduates on the eve of graduation.

Bakersfield Christian High School's seniors will graduate at the end of the month, and Kern High School District's graduations kick off June 7.