Graduation to commence as drive-thru procession

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Madeline Sanders

"I really appreciate the admin working to figure out how to celebrate while staying safe, and I think it’s a unique idea," senior Grace Bennett said regarding the adjusted graduation. "I mean, regular graduation ceremonies are kinda basic right?"

Seniors will experience a modified drive-thru graduation service on May 30 at 10 a.m. Principal Chris Mayfield announced the adapted graduation plans via email on Wednesday that also included information regarding a potential traditional graduation service amongst other senior activities. 

“Please also mark your calendars for July 25,” Mayfield stated in the email. “We are also planning a more traditional ceremony at the LHS Football Field for graduates and their immediate families on this date if restrictions allow.”

For the May 30 service, students will have assigned parking spots to keep the procession organized as each car will drive across the driveway of the high school where they will receive their diploma and be congratulated by Mayfield and Superintendent Michael Goddard while Director of Human Resources, Recruitment and Development Kent Messer announces their names. 

“We will definitely have a speaker system set up in the front of the school, but are also investigating the use of a radio frequency to broadcast beyond the high school,” Mayfield said. “Much of that ceremony will be determined by what social distancing parameters are in place.”

After being congratulated, students will drive through a parade route through surrounding neighborhoods and all district campuses. The route will resolve back in the high school parking lot, where students may celebrate while social distancing. Students are encouraged to decorate their cars, and the parade route will be shared with the community so may also honor the class of 2020. 

“I wish things could be ‘normal’ but with the restrictions we have placed, and for the safety of all of us, I believe this was the best option,” senior Nick Dodda said. “Although it won’t have the same effect, it’s the best we can do for now.”

While the drive-thru procession is not what was originally expected, it is seen as good news to many as other virtual alternatives were also discussed.

“I think [seniors] are tired of only seeing their friends and families over a computer screen,” senior parent Lisa Green said. “I am so happy that we are going to do something fun and creative for graduation. These kids will be able to see each other and be with each other and celebrate together. The potential for this to be amazingly fun and memorable is endless.”

For senior parent Stephanie McFadden, the ceremony will provide a good way to celebrate the “amazing group of seniors who deserve to be honored.”

“I am grateful that the administration has met with the senior class officers and has structured a plan that is celebratory in nature,” McFadden said. “I truly hope that the community will come out, in full force, as the kids make their way from the high school along the route. I am equally as thrilled about the opportunity for a more traditional summer event, if guidance allows.”

In addition to the May 30 celebration and potential July ceremony, Mayfield will announce weekly senior activities from April 27–May 25 such as the senior letter writing campaign and a virtual senior signing day as a way to continuously celebrate the class of 2020. 

“Many seniors and parents have shared how difficult this time is for them,” Mayfield said. “I want them to know that all of the teachers, para-professionals, counselors, custodians, food service staff, administrators, and every other staff member at LHS loves them and misses them. I know we can’t celebrate our seniors in the traditional ways, but we want this time to be incredibly special for them. I also hope our community embraces the chance to support them in whatever ways they can.”