High schools hold drive-thru graduation party for class of 2020

Among the well-known events and celebrations canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic were high school commencements, life milestones attended by hundreds of students and their proud friends and family.

Even with COVID-19 restrictions and orders in place, Bradley County Schools in Tennessee managed to pay homage to their dear departing seniors with a “drive-thru” graduation party on May 9.

Images of graduates were displayed alongside the drive-thru path, with some grinning teachers waving and holding signs with congratulatory messages from afar.

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A report from the local news outlet the Cleveland Banner indicates that school had been out since March 6, with many students not having seen each other since spring break. 

“This is one of the small things we can do to show our seniors how proud we are of everything they have accomplished. I hope they know, no matter what challenges they may face; we are all in this together — not only now but in the future,” Angie Neely, a teacher at Bradley Central, one of the schools in the district, told the outlet.

The class of 2020 — high school seniors and college graduates alike — face unprecedented career and educational challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with freshly-printed diplomas in hand, college graduates are entering into an uncertain economy with record-level unemployment.

For high school graduates entering college, it is still questionable whether they will step foot on their chosen campuses in the fall and how their learning will actually take place. 

With health officials predicting a second wave of COVID-19 arriving later this year, it seems unlikely that the standard brick-and-mortar college experience will be fully revitalized come the start of the fall semester.

Still, celebrations like those from Bradley County Schools and others have helped to lift spirits for graduates, their families and the general public amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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