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Slidell graduates featured on Ellen gifted $10,000 each

Winn-Dixie managers held special graduation ceremony for employees
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Posted at 4:56 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 19:51:49-04

A group of Louisiana graduates will now have a fond memory to look back on during this time of uncertainty.

Eight seniors from Slidell High School who are also employees at the Slidell Winn-Dixie were recently featured on The Ellen Degeneres Show along with two of their managers. The managers, named Jimmy and Janelle, wanted their young employees to be able to celebrate graduation since traditional commencement ceremonies had been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. So Jimmy and Janelle set up a stage, decorated the back stockroom, and held graduation for their employees. Manager Jimmy Scott gave the commencement speech and handed out diplomas to the graduates.

Photos of the ceremony made the rounds on social media, finally catching the attention of the talk show host, who had them on her show Wednesday. Degeneres, from Metarie herself, said she loved the story and was really happy to be able to thank all of the employees for their hard work during this time. She also presented them with a special graduation gift.

The students explained how they found out about five hours before senior prom that graduation had been canceled. They said they initially were shocked, but said they understand the bigger picture and feel that going through this hard moment will make them stronger in the end.

One student, Mason, explained how employees are proud they can still help people, by getting to be one of the few people many will interact with in days. He said he feels it's important to put a smile on customers' faces and make sure they feel safe.

Degeneres topped off the interview by passing out a "diploma" to each graduate that contained a certificate for $10,000 thanks to GreenDot.

And, in true commencement fashion, Degeneres allowed the graduates to symbolize their milestone by doing something they hadn't yet done - throwing their caps in the air.

Congratulations, graduates!

Watch the full interview below:

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