I love Ellen Degeneres and her soft spot for Louisiana. The Louisiana native did a great thing for a group of Louisiana graduates from Slidell High School.  You may remember the amazing story about the managers at a Slidell Winn-Dixie that gave a graduation ceremony to 8 employees since they couldn’t have a traditional one due to the coronavirus pandemic. Well, Ellen featured the 8 Slidell graduates and the two Winn Dixie managers, Jimmy Scott and Genel Schwab, on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

When Scott and Schwab found out that the graduating class of 2020 would not be able to have a graduation, they came up with their own plan to honor their eight employees that were graduates. Scott and Schwab decorated their stockroom and even set up a stage for them to walk across. Jimmy Scott, a 45-year Winn-Dixie associate and the store manager, gave the commencement speech and also handed each graduate their diploma. In his speech, he encouraged the graduates to focus on their goals and continue working hard to lead the next generation.  The ceremony took place in late April.

St. Tammany Parish School System Facebook , EllenTube

Naturally, the photos of the ceremony were posted on social media and made their rounds and caught Ellen’s attention. Degeneres is very familiar with the town of Slidell as she is from Metairie. She said she loved the story and wanted to feature them on her show.

St. Tammany Parish School System Facebook ,EllenTube

The students were so surprised when they found out they were going to be featured. The students explained how the pandemic has affected their high school festivities. They did say although they were shocked, they understood the bigger picture and felt that going through this difficult time will make them stronger in the end. Their positive attitude speaks volumes. Kudos to their parents. Mason, one of the students, explained how employees are proud they still have a job and how they are able to help people. He made a great point by saying that they are one of the few people that many will interact with for a long time. He also said he felt it was important to smile for them and make the customers feel safe.

In true Ellen fashion, she presented them with a very special graduation gift. She handed each of them a “diploma” that contained a certificate for $10,000 thanks to GreenDot. Can you imagine their surprise? The graduates were able to symbolize their milestone by doing a tradition that hadn’t been done yet, throwing their caps in the air.

They were on an EllenTube video in an eight-minute segment that was posted on Facebook by the St. Tammany Parish School system. Also, Scott and Schwab, the two Slidell Winn-Dixie managers, were honored as “Ellen’s Employees Of The Month” and each will be brought to view a taping of one of “Ellen’s 12 Days of Giveaways” shows that will happen later in the year.


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