North to Hold Drive-In Graduation for Class of 2021

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COVID-19 safety concerns have led North High to switch to a drive-in graduation instead of a traditional ceremony. “I think that a regular graduation is better, and I wouldn’t call the new graduation a solution, but rather just what we have to do to get a graduation this year,” said senior Riley Atwood.

Jordan Byrd, Staff Writer

“I’m disappointed about these changes. It isn’t what I’ve waited four years for,” said senior Allison Miller, who is graduating this spring. Miller, like many other graduating seniors at North, will be having a drive-in graduation this year instead of a traditional graduation ceremony.
Due to safety concerns from COVID-19, North has decided that a traditional graduation ceremony is not safe for this year. However, many seniors still wanted to have the experience of a graduation. Because of this, North chose to have this year’s graduation at POWERplex St. Louis, a sports complex where there will be drive-by celebrations for seniors and their families.
“I’m definitely a little bummed that I don’t get a normal graduation this year, but I am very grateful for the graduation we do have under the circumstances of COVID,” said senior Riley Atwood.
Because of the many precautions that were taken during this year and last, seniors have had to miss out on many senior year activities, including prom, the senior walk and more. Many seniors are disappointed to have yet another important moment changed but are trying to make the best of it.
“I think the only advantage is that we get to actually walk across the stage … [and] I think a huge disadvantage [about the changes] is that our parents have to watch us on a big screen and listen through the car rather than them actually seeing us,” said Miller.
The graduation ceremony will be similar to a drive-in movie experience. The audience members will stay in their car and watch the ceremony on a jumbotron. The event will also be streamed so people may watch it from the safety of their home.
While some seniors are disappointed about the new changes, others are excited to have a graduation at all. Unlike the class of 2020, the class of 2021 gets to celebrate their milestone in front of family and friends.
“I’m just happy to have a graduation. … Yeah, I’m a little disappointed that it’s different, but I’m still grateful. I’m looking forward to walking across the stage and getting my diploma,” said Atwood.
North principals Tori Cain and Mike Rizzo released an announcement explaining many of the changes to graduation. The announcement stated that, “while this venue is not traditional, our ceremony will continue to host the traditional aspects of a North High Graduation. In addition, we will follow the health recommendations of social distancing and wearing masks. We look forward to celebrating our students together in-person as we honor their many accomplishments.”
The graduation ceremony will take place on May 24 at 7 p.m.