Dallas high school principal travels 1500 miles to hand-deliver diplomas to each graduating senior

The senior class of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts graduated Wednesday in a virtual ceremony.

The school's principal spent most of last week visiting each one of the soon-to-be graduates. Some of those visits turned into performances.

When your principal shows up to deliver your diploma to your home, the front yard shenanigans are on with TikToks, trampoline fun, balloons and more.

Dallas ISD Booker T. Washington High School Principal Dr. Scott Rudes sparked the creativity his performing and visual arts students are known for with a marathon senior tour.

“One of our core values at our school is to ignite joy,” he said. “And that is what I saw on the faces of my seniors and their families. Just a few minutes of joy in the midst of all this uncertainty.”

Rudes says he visited 240 senior students in 10 days to hand-deliver their diplomas in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. His journey embraced the two hats he wears as a principal and dad.

“I think it started with the fact that I am the father of a senior and I feel it. I feel the anguish and the sadness over missing out on a lot of activities at the end of the year,” he said. “So this was my opportunity to connect with each and every one of them.”

Rudes traveled over 1500 miles in his personal vehicle, covering more than 65 hours. He says it was all worth it and hopes it will resonate.

“Whatever presents in life, find the opportunity with that and run with it. That’s one of the things I think we do best at a school like ours with artists, to teach them to view the world from multiple perspectives and to be creative and expressive,” Rudes said. “I think that’s what gets them through the hard times.”