Detroit class of 2020 invited to be part of virtual senior salute

"When it comes to education, to life moments, you always think about high school graduation, senior prom, and all of the amazing things in your senior year," said Ashley Johnson.

Sadly, seniors graduating in 2020 missed it by a matter of months. But Ashley Johnson with the Detroit College Access Network, is one of the organizations working to make the graduates big moment, more memorable.

"We really wanted to do something to help them understand that we value them, that they really do matter," she said.

They are calling on all Detroit high school seniors to be part of the senior salute commencement campaign. All they have to do is submit their photo, any photo, to be included in a virtual graduation ceremony.

"The videos will not include the senior photo gallery, but it will also include a student's story whether that's from a valedictorian or whoever the high school picks, a principal will also speak on it, and we are also delighted to have the mayor's office and the governor's office participate in this.
"We are going to put these videos together and give them to the high schools and the high school can share them with students and families and they can host their own Facebook Live event."

For some, the pandemic is also putting college plans on hold.

Johnson says when a senior uploads their picture, they will receive information to set up a meeting with a college advisor to help with the process or answer any questions they may have.

Because COVID-19 may have changed our lives, but it shouldn't change our future.

"I think if you allow this to be part of your story, it will only propel you to greatness and to achieve far better than previous generations before you because you went through this in high school," she said. 

The United Way and the Skillman Foundation, the city of Detroit and Community Education Foundation. Each school will receive their own virtual graduation. To upload contact your school principal or go online to

The deadline is Friday, June 5. It is free to all 53 Detroit high school graduating classes. Any student who submits a photo will have a chance at winning $529 which can be used for college expenses.