KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) - Many high school graduates will eventually walk across the graduation stage at ceremonies scheduled later this year. While they wait, they had a rare chance to take graduation photos inside Children’s Mercy Park.

The chance to zip up that graduation gown and proudly place on your cap is a rite of passage that was put on hold for thousands of 2020 graduates this year. Because of the coronavirus, many senior traditions didn’t happen.

“I was really looking forward to my senior prom,” Ray-Pec High School senior Conley Bauernfeind said.

“I was about to start my senior year of soccer. So that was a sad moment to realize I would not be able to play my last season with my high school team,” Spring Hill High School senior Grayson Murphy said.

“Prom. Prom was the biggest one,” Blue Springs North senior Mike Delgadillo said.

Sporting Kansas City teamed up with UMB Bank to give grads the opportunity to think about something other than canceled events. They offered free professional graduation photos on the pitch while grads names and photos were displayed behind them on the stadium's videoboard.

“I’ve been up on those stands and seen the field and the players. To be here is amazing,” Alta Vista Charter School senior Juan Limas said.

Long-time teammates got one more team photo in their Ray-Pec uniforms. Their parents have taken photos of this group for ten years.

“It’s the same formation. We’ve done it every year,” Bauernfeind said.

“We just look older,” Ray-Pec High School senior Aidan Shaw said.

“It’s a special momentous occasion,” Sporting Club Events Director Selena Corpuz said. “Getting the chance to celebrate and be recognized for their hard work.”

This week memories will be captured from a safe social distance in the fresh air at Children’s Mercy Park for hundreds of graduates.

“I think a lot of families are trying to figure out how they can still make that memory,” Murphy’s dad James Murphy said.

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