With face-to-face graduation ceremonies deemed too dangerous to do in the pandemic, some schools adapted to the times and did things out-of-the-box.
Graduation should be a time for great joy for many students. After spending years of studying and hard work, all their efforts are finally coming to fruition. It’s every student’s dream to wear a toga and cap, walk to the stage, get that diploma, and proudly soak in the moment as a graduate. But with the onset of COVID-19, face-to-face interactions were (and still are) deemed too dangerous to do, so thousands of schools around the world closed. This meant that graduations ceremonies were either canceled, put on hold, or held virtually.
While the classes of 2020 and 2021 weren’t able to have that classic graduation experience, some schools stepped up to the challenge and held unique and interesting graduations that proved to be memorable for those involved. At the very least, these students can say that they were part of a one-of-a-kind graduation. Here are 8 unique graduations done during the pandemic.
MOBILE GRADUATION VIA KALABAW
Most graduation ceremonies in the past year shifted to online ceremonies. But the problem with that is that students who had weak or no internet connection at home couldn’t participate in the events. This was the problem the teachers of Lawigan Elementary School in Tobias Fornier, Antique faced. Most of the area was mountainous terrain, so it wasn’t easy to make it online graduation. To solve this, the teachers decided to make a mobile stage for a mobile graduation. The best part was that the stage was being pulled by a kalabaw. They even decorated the kalabaw with ribbons and a garland. The teachers walked for hours to reach the homes of the graduating grade 6 and 7 students, but based on their reactions, it looks like it was all worth it and further proof that teachers sacrifice so much just for their students.
GRADUATION AT A DRIVE-IN MOVIE THEATER
A few schools took inspiration from the movies and held their socially distant graduations in drive-in movie theaters. Clover High School in Clover, South Carolina, held its graduation ceremony at the local drive-in movie theater. Students and their families would come in and park their cars in front of the screen. They would then walk to the stage to receive their diploma. Hanover Area High School in Pennsylvania did a similar concept where students and their families watched pre-recorded videos projected on the screen and were even treated to a free new movie release after the ceremony.
GRADUATION AT THE FINISH LINE
If you could think of a place to hold a graduation ceremony, the raceway wouldn’t be your first choice. But that was what a high school in Indiana did. The Speedway High School decided to use the unconventional location of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the setting for their graduation ceremony. Students received their diplomas at the raceways “Yard of Brick” finish line. How the students would get to the finish line is even cooler. Each student, along with their family, was allowed one car in which they drove on the actual speedway to reach the finish line and receive their diploma. Now that’s a memorable graduation.
ROBOTS DRESSED AS THE STUDENTS
We are living in the future. To make the graduation feel as real as possible, a school in Taguig decided to use robots in place of the actual students. Operating as mechanical proxies, these innovations were dressed in matching toga and cap while a tablet with an image of the student was used as the head. The robots were made by the school’s robotics team they controlled them via remote control. These remote-controlled robots brought a whole new meaning to the term cyber graduation.
GRADUATION AT THE CAR PARK
If you can’t hold a graduation inside a theater or auditorium, then hold it in a parking lot. At least, that was what a school in Bahrain did for their graduating 2021 class. The stage was built in the front while cars were parked by rows facing the stage. The students were waiting by the side of the stage to get their diplomas and there was even a red carpet in the middle of the car park so students can walk down the aisle. To make the event even more special, there was a fireworks display at the end of the ceremony.
GRADUATING IN MINECRAFT
Minecraft is a game in which you can build almost anything you want, as long as you put your mind and creativity to it. When Japan closed its schools in February 2020, a group of Japanese students decided to take matters into their own hands and organized their graduation ceremony in Minecraft. Eight students, ranging from elementary to junior high school, made the event without the help of teachers or faculty. The virtual ceremony had all the things you expect a regular graduation to have. The students entered in a line. A speaker was present to give the commencement address, a student spoke for the class, and they all received their diplomas.
If the students can’t make it to the graduation ceremony, then bring the graduation to the students. That is what a group of teachers from Maligaya Elementary School in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur did recently. They went around town with a mobile stage complete with decorations, music, a loudspeaker, and even a host to announce the names of the students. The teachers said that they decided to do this so that it could be more convenient for students who don’t have a stable internet connection.
Drive-throughs are usually places where we get fast food to go. But one university in California decided that it would be a good place to hand out diplomas. For the 2020 graduating class of La Sierra University in Riverside California, the school decided to hand out the diplomas drive-through style. Students in their cars would drive to an administrator who would hand them their degrees. All the while, family, friends, and neighbors wait on the side of the road cheering on the graduates.
Continue Reading: Students Open Up About What It’s Like Going Through Online Learning