After Elliot got his diploma in the early afternoon, we had some down time. I folded laundry. We had a special dinner of Elliot’s choosing. And we even had time after dinner to watch an episode of Brooklyn 99 (our current family series). All between receiving his diploma and leaving for the drive-in movie theater!
Around 8:30 PM, we pulled into the drive-in movie theater. A line of cars stretched from the ticket booth, filling the driveway, and out onto State Route 59. It took us about ten or fifteen minutes to inch our way forward. But we finally parked near the middle of the big parking lot. We tuned our car radios to 102.7 FM. And we waited for the commencement ceremonies to start.
We had about 45 minutes from the time we parked until the time it got dark enough to start the screening. During that time, we put out lawn chairs in front of our minivan. We arranged the snacks we brought along with us (perhaps the first and last time that I’ve ever brought Cherry Coke and a special popcorn mix to a graduation!). We milled around our section of the parking lot and caught up with other families of graduates we knew. Throughout it all, we managed to stay roughly six feet apart from each other. Still, it was weird being in such a communal context again after nearly three months of isolation. Both fun and mildly uncomfortable at the same time.
The event came off pretty smoothly. We were especially excited to hear Elliot’s address to his classmates. But the whole thing, really, was a quirky spin on traditional graduation ceremonies. It felt a bit like a tailgate party mixed with graduation formalities. At the appropriate moments, applause was mixed with the honking of horns from the assembled automobiles. And to cap it all off, they had a fireworks show sponsored by a local bank!
It was an unusual Graduation, but a memorable graduation.
They just recently posted the Virtual Commencement ceremony on YouTube. So now, all the extended family and friends can see what they missed. What’s great about this way of doing things is that you can of course watch the video in its entirety… Or you can skip to the sections of greatest personal interest. Elliot’s speech starts at the 00:12:23 mark, and he gets his diploma at the 01:12:35 mark. And for whatever it’s worth, there’s also a girl who walks with her dog, and the dog also happens to be wearing a little graduation cap. See it at the 01:40:00 mark.
We’re glad that everyone worked together to figure out a way to make Graduation special for the Class of 2020.