In a feel-good segment yesterday, TV personality and New
Orleans native Ellen DeGeneres awarded $10,000 each to eight brand new St.
Tammany High School graduates. The group all works at a Wynn Dixie in Slidell.
The segment aired on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, a syndicated daytime talk
NOLA.com posted a clip from the episode in an
article. Ellen, with her characteristic blonde bangs and wearing an orange
tracksuit, appears to be calling the grocery store from home. The graduates and
their two managers answer in what can only be the Wynn Dixie break room.
Celebratory balloons and graduation caps and robes indicate the occasion;
everyone's wearing face protection.
During the interview, the recent seniors lament what they've
lost as a result of the pandemic: prom and a proper ceremony. Using the
language of war time that's come to describe the coronavirus months, they refer
to themselves as "frontline workers." Mostly, the group acknowledges the
meaning to be found in personal sacrifice. One graduate, Owen Donnelly, says,
"We see the bigger picture."
Store managers Genel Schwab and Jimmy Scott, sympathetic to
their subordinates' plight, staged a makeshift ceremony. They invited their
parents; Scott delivered a commencement speech. Footage reveals him handing the
students diplomas and ironic toilet paper cakes, a nod to that memeable moment
earlier in the quarantine when panicked shoppers caused a shortage.
Ellen invites the Wynn Dixie managers to her annual "12 Days
of Giveaways," a series of shows where Ellen lavishes luxury items on her
guests. She then instructs Scott and Schwab to hand out envelopes to the eight
graduates. They open them to find $10,000 checks.
Ellen plugs her advertiser for the segment, Green Dot Bank,
an online banking service. The money for the graduates apparently comes from