Point Loma High celebrates graduates online while holding out hope for summer ceremony

Point Loma High School's logo features the school’s mascot, the Pointer.

Despite being unable to hold a traditional commencement ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic, Point Loma High School honored the graduating Class of 2020 with a virtual celebration on its website June 9 — the date the ceremony would have taken place.

The virtual celebration includes a slideshow, music and words from families and staff. A video produced by graduating seniors using cellphone footage taken before the coronavirus-driven school closure also is featured.

To see the slideshow and collection of videos, visit

The Point Loma-OB Monthly had the chance to chat with 2020 PLHS valedictorian Loretta Karpinski (who goes by Retta), about her thoughts on the way her senior year ended.

“I think the disappointment and grief that comes with missing what was supposed to be the best few months of our high school careers [is] really hard on one level — the personal level, and the grief and really abrupt transition that we went through,” she said. “But on the other level, we’re all seeing what’s going on in the world right now and we’re all I think a little bit terrified.

“Our futures are just kind of blank voids right now, and that can be really terrifying. But honestly, in the end it’ll create a lot of positive change. ... It’s not going to be easy short-term.”

Karpinski was set to give the valedictorian speech during the school’s commencement ceremony. Instead, she delivered a speech via Facebook Live on June 8, encouraging members of the Class of 2020 to use their disappointments, fear and anger as fuel for their futures.

“We all have our own lives where we can make our own choices, and collectively making choices that better our own communities can really change the world,” Karpinski told the Monthly before her speech. “And also change your own life. You’re a lot happier when you’re grateful for what you have.”

Also recognized for their academic standing at PLHS are salutatorians Zoe Latham and Kyle Caulson.

San Diego Unified School District high schools, including Point Loma, are considering holding in-person commencement ceremonies later this summer if public health guidelines permit, according to Jamie Ries, facilities communication liaison for the school district. However, if social distancing protocols are still in place, schools may decide to hold virtual graduation ceremonies.

PLHS is eyeing Aug. 7 for a possible in-person ceremony.

PLHS also hopes to hold an in-person prom later in the summer if health guidelines permit.

Point Loma principal leaving for new job

Point Loma High Principal Hans Becker announced his last day on the job will be June 30. He has accepted the position of principal of Rancho Bernardo High School.

“It is a career move that comes with many mixed emotions and sleepless nights,” Becker said in an email to Point Loma High families.

“I have always said that Point Loma is the finest high school in San Diego, and I still believe that,” Becker continued. “However, I’ve always known I was not going to be fortunate enough to serve this community forever. My educational pathway has always revolved around change and reinventing myself, and that is what drives me.”

He noted that his time at PLHS included five years as vice principal and seven years as principal.

“It’s actually one of the longest tenures of any administrator at Point Loma, and I am honored to be a part of this school’s fabric,” he said.

Becker said he plans to attend the commencement ceremony in the summer if it takes place.


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