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Leon School District To Host Drive-In Graduation Ceremonies For Seniors

Tai's captures
A blue mortarboard with tassle

The Leon County School District has settled on a graduation ceremony for seniors. But it won’t be the traditional walk across a stage most have envisioned. The novel coronavirus pandemic has caused school districts to revamp how they hand out diplomas. For Leon County students, this year’s ceremony will look more like a drive-in theatre.

Pomp and Circumstance will play on local station 93.3 as students and as many family members will fit into one vehicle, proceed into the parking lot of the Civic Center for ceremonies on May 26, 27 and 28 at 8:30 a.m. ad 7:30 p.m. They’ll be guided to one of the 700 parking spaces available.

The district plans to have a stage and two jumbo-trons set up on the plaza. That’s where the valedictorians, salutatorians, class presidents, and school and district officials will give their addresses.

“We’re encouraging kids to decorate their cars, jazz them out… we’ll have a car decorating contest…but during the entire ceremony, windows will remain up and students and family members will remain in their vehicles, as I’ve promised the department of health that we would live by that stipulation,” Hanna said Tuesday while making the graduation announcement in a Facebook live.

He notes students and families without cars should make arrangements by contacting their principals.

Photos of students will be broadcast on the monitors as their names are called, but families and their grads will have to stay in their cars. While it’s not the graduation ceremony seniors may have envisioned, Hanna says it’s the best the district can give them at the moment.

“I don’t see a path that we’re going to go from all this social distancing to them in a month or two months, to gather in mass… I just don’t think that’s realistic. I don’t think that’s practical,” Hanna said, acknowledging calls to postpone graduation until an in-person one can be done later in the year.


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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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