YELLOW SPRINGS — Sixty-one Yellow Springs High School graduating seniors will stick to social distancing in a creative way Wednesday — with a drive-in commencement.
The graduation ceremony will begin at 8 p.m. May 27 with a senior clap out car parade of class of 2020 vehicles through the village. With a senior and their family in each car, the parade will start at the high school and travel through the village to arrive at Antioch University Midwest.
There, attendees will stay in their cars and watch an outdoor screening of the ceremony on a 45-foot screen. When it is time for the presentation of diplomas, each senior and their escort will exit their vehicle and stand by their chair. The senior will pick up the flower on their chair and the escort will pick up the diploma cover, then exchange items when the senior’s name is read.
At the conclusion of the graduation, students will toss thank you cards — each labeled for a specific recipient — out of their car windows.
Of the 61 graduates, 47 — or 77 percent — are college bound. One student is enlisting in the military.
“The class of 2020 is a special group of students,” YSHS Principal Jack Hatert said. “I first met our seniors when they were in seventh grade as their math and science teacher, and it has been a pleasure to watch their growth over the past six years. Graduation is a celebration of not just a student’s hard work and accomplishments over the last 13 years, but also the bright future ahead.”
Dave Smith, guidance counselor at the high school, said the seniors have responded to the changes of their year-end with positivity.
“The class of 2020 has rallied together to meet the challenges of the social distancing imposed by the pandemic with grace, kindness, and appreciation. Though they missed some of the traditional ways of being side by side at the end of their senior year, they have stayed connected through virtual classrooms, completed graduation requirements, and moved forward with their plans for the fall, whatever those might look like,” Smith said. “They have been a wonderful group of young women and men, and though we have missed seeing them in person since mid-March, they are very much in our thoughts and hearts, and we send them into the next phase of their lives with all our love and appreciation.”
The schools created the COVID-19 graduation plan in consultation with the Greene County Public Health and Yellow Springs Police Department.
“Our staff is committed to a meaningful celebration of these students and their achievements. Together, we have worked hard to create a memorable and safe experience to honor the class of 2020,” Hatert added. “As an educator, your end goal is always to ensure your students are ready to be successful in the real world. The YSHS class of 2020 is. These young adults are hard-working, kind, compassionate, empathetic, and driven.”
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