LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — St. Mary's High School class president Daniel May said it best, “It’s an odd year, why not have an odd graduation." During the COVID-19 pandemic high school's all across Western New York have been finding creative ways to honor their seniors.
On Thursday night, St. Mary's High School in Lancaster hosted its 2020 graduation at the Transit Drive-In Theatre in Lockport. The theatre is hosting about 40 graduations this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to one of the owners.
Pictures of the 112 graduates popped up on the big screen, both baby pictures and cap and gown pictures. The movie also included traditional speeches from the valedictorian, salutatorian, and various school administrators.
“We hope it can kind of be one salvation, in that we have one chance to kind of see a movie and celebrate these kids as an entire group," said the school's Dean of Academics Keith Junik.
The seniors and their families piled into socially distanced cars. The attire for the evening was caps, gowns, and masks. May said the event was never how he pictured graduation day, but it's serving as one final lesson that he learned in school.
“You know we just lost graduation, other people they lost their lives, they’ve lost jobs, they’ve lost so much," May said. "So the fact that we’ve only lost this, and we were able to overcome that and still get this, is huge its a great learning lesson.”
From balloons, to fat heads, families said they tried to make the day as special as possible for seniors who've lost so much. Kelly Cleversley's family cheered her on with the fat head they used for her volleyball games; this time with a cap on it.
“When I found out that school was gonna be cancelled that kind of took my, I want to say life away," said Cleversley. "I play volleyball and volleyball got cancelled, school got cancelled, I couldn’t see any of my friends anymore.”
Diploma handshakes were replaced with diploma goody bags that included sparklers for the grand finale.
The Class of 2020 drove in as high schoolers, and drove out as graduates.