Drive-in graduation will be held for Class of '20

Shawn Hardy news@echo-pilot.com

The Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2020 will still graduate as scheduled during a ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 6, but the venue will be Manitowoc in Shady Grove instead of Kaley Field at the G-A school complex.

Dr. Ed Rife, G-AHS principal, outlined "Planning Graduation during a Pandemic" at Thursday's virtual school board meeting.

"We are in unprecedented times and our hearts break for our seniors," Rife said. "It is our sincere desire to celebrate our seniors with an appropriate graduation ceremony. After much consideration we have determined a drive-in style graduation followed by a processional through Greencastle would allow us to celebrate our students while making a good faith attempt to stay within the guidelines set forth by the governor and the department of health."

Manitowoc has the space to accommodate the plan, which allows one car each for just over 200 seniors. The graduates in their caps and gowns will sit in their cars with their families. Diplomas will be delivered to the vehicles by administrators and school board members as each graduate's name and future plans are announced.

"The ceremony will focus on the students and their accomplishments," Rife said.

The district is working on having sound done professionally on-site and having the ceremony livestreamed. It also will be broadcast live on WRGG radio.

Seniors traditionally decorate and personalize their caps, but this year are being asked to decorate their cars. After graduation, a "grand procession with social distancing" is planned through downtown Greencastle so the community can "celebrate this awesome Class of 2020," Rife said.

Community members can make signs and cheer for the graduates as they drive by.

The COVID-19 graduation plan has received "thumbs up" from senior class advisers, officers and Peer Leaders and local officials.

"We appreciate the support we have received from our local business and government officials," Rife said. "There is no perfect plan in these challenging times, but we are excited to partner together to celebrate the Class of 2020."

Many details are still being worked out and plans could change as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold or if it rains on June 6.

On June 4, seniors will go to the high school to drop off their iPads and textbooks and receive seniors bags which include caps and gowns, yearbooks and a welcome to the Greencastle-Antrim Alumni Association.