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."