LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– Like many schools around the world, the Lansing School district couldn’t hold an indoor graduation ceremony this year due to the pandemic. Instead they turned the streets into a stage and allowed hundreds of students to celebrate in person.
The road to this graduation was unlike any other. A traditional indoor graduation just couldn’t happen this year, but school officials were determined to give the Class of 2020 their moment to shine after all they’ve been through this year.
“I know how disappointing it must have been for those kids to just think, “That’s the end. We left in March and we’re not going back and that’s…period. We’re done with high school,”” school board president Gabrielle Lawrence said. “So it feels great to see them, to see their faces, to let them walk across the stage in their cap and gown.”
More than 500 high school and adult education students crossed the stage with their families close by to see it all as part of the drive-by ceremonies.
“I’m really glad that our administration tried really hard to make this possible for us,” Eastern High School valedictorian Claire Hipps said. “And I think that it’s almost special in a way because this was planned. It wasn’t us just going through the motions of some sort of commencement.”
“I think they needed that,” Lawrence said. “We all, essentially needed that, the entire community, the school board, the school district. We all needed this end to a tumultuous year.”
As they drove off into the future with their families, graduates shared their messages for their classmates.
“I’m super proud of all my classmates in my class,” Samuel Herig says, “and I know that all of you guys are gonna go off and do big things in the world.”
“We graduated within a pandemic, also with everything happening with the Black Lives Matter movement,” Ja’mya Suttles added. “So I’m proud of us as a class. We did it.”