Starlight Drive-in/Facebook

Graduation At the Drive-In? This High School Commencement Is Sure to Be Unforgettable!

How one brilliant mom came up with the idea and helped pull it all together.

Graduation at the drive-in. Kinda sounds like a line from a Meatloaf song!

But that's exactly with several school districts in suburban Pittsburgh are planning during this time of quaranting and social distancing. Burrell High School, just north east of Pittsburgh, PA, is one of them. They'll hold their high school graduation on June 11 at the Riverside Drive-in in nearby Vandergrift, which is closed for showing movies because they're still considered nonessential.

Most schools, like Burrell (PA) High School, can't hold graduation in their usual venues because of social distancing. Burrell School District/Facebook

"These students have worked very hard since kindergarten with the goal to walk on the stage with their heads held high among their friends, family, and the community," Genia Koziarski told the Tribune Review's TribLIVE. Koziarski is a Burrell school director and parent of a 2020 graduate. She came up with the drive-in graduation proposal.

People will park and stay in their cars, just as they would do at a drive-in movie, only they'll be watching graduation on the drive in screen.

Riverside Drive-In has room for 300 cars, more than enough for graduates' families to social distance.Riverside Drive-In/Facebook

"Parents are submitting pictures and we're doing all the music and speeches that would typically take place at a graduation," pre-recorded Superintendent Shannon Wagner told KDKA Radio's Lynne Hayes Freeland. "The only thing that will be happeing live is the graduates going across the stage. My high school s principal said to me he thinks this is going to be the coolest graduation we've been able to pull together."

Other local drive-ins tell the Trib they've also received inquiries from high schools about hosting gradutations. "We are moving forward with plans in case we are given the go ahead," said Beth Manson, who co-owns the Starlight Drive-In, in Butler County north of Pittsburgh. The Dependable Drive-In in Moon Township, west of Pittsburgh also has received inquiries from four high schools.

Dependable Drive-In is another Pittsburgh-area drive in theater that's been approached to host graduations.Dependable Drive-In/Facebook

"You're in your own vehicle and not elbow-to-elbow with anybody you don't live with like you would be in a stadium or theater," Riverside co-owner Emma Ross told the Trib. Their drive-in has 20 feet between cars.

"The actual benefit with a drive-in is that you can put everything up on the screen and be able to see fellow students but with no personal contact," said Senator Jim Brewster, who helped Burrell get state approval for their graduation. "I think it's an innovative way to graduate."

How can you start something good?

While you don't have any control over how, where or even whether your high school hold graduation this year. But that shouldn't stop you from thinking of a special way to honor the high school and college graduates in your life. Here are some examples from the Sparkt archive:

From Social-Distance Proms To Social Media Salutes: Celebrating The "Coronavirus Class" Of 2020

612 Selfies Later: Hear How A Principal Honored HIs School's Graduating Seniors

Wait Until You See A Principal's Epic Tribute To The Class Of 2020

The Conversation
More stories you may love

How Saving A Church Is Saving Lives Too

A couple bought an abandoned church and turned it into a community center. What they've created is so much bigger.

They're Saluting Our Veterans Every Day of the Year

Meet the Pittsburghers who are making sure our returning vets have jobs, homes and food, and find out how you can help.

How Goats And The Volunteers Who Love Them Are Saving A Popular Park

They're keeping invasive plants from taking over Pittsburgh's Frick Park by doing what comes naturally. For the goats at least!

Our Mission
Have you ever felt like there's just too much bad news? Ever felt like the world is hopeless, and you're helpless to do anything about it? We did too. That's why we created Sparkt™.
At Sparkt™, we tell powerful stories about great people making a difference in their communities, and we show you how you can make a difference too. Join us, and together, let's #StartSomethingGood!
Sparkt Newsletter
Get positive, uplifting stories in your inbox
Follow Us on Social Media
Download the Mobile App
Sparkt™ is a Rabble Holdings, Inc. Media Brand. © 2020 Rabble Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.