Hamilton High School seniors picked up their caps and gowns Thursday, April 30, 2020 at Hamilton High School in Hamilton. The seniors and parents were greeted by signs drove through balloon arches as they picked up their graduation supplies in drive-thru fashion. Schools around the area are still trying to figure out how to make graduations ceremonies special for students while keeping with the social distancing guidelines. Hamilton has not announced their plans yet for graduation. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Hamilton graduation plans include drive-in theater, drive-thru diplomas

The coronavirus-affected Big Blue Class of 2020 will have drive-in and drive-thru ceremonies.

Their virtual graduation will appear on the silver screen at the Holiday Drive-In on Old Oxford Road on May 20 and May 21 at 9 p.m.

“Parents and graduates have the option to attend this unique experience,” Principal John Wilhelm wrote to parents. “But due to social distancing guidelines only 210 vehicles will be allowed to view the ceremony each night and only one vehicle per graduate is permitted.”

The graduates, who are having their last day of classes today, will have the virtual ceremony May 20 and 21, featuring speeches and videos from the senior class president, valedictorian, and salutatorian.

Several guest speakers also will address the class.

Wilhelm in his letter wrote, “We know these are challenging times and none of us would have expected something like this to occur, which impacts the traditions we have grown accustomed to experiencing during the final year of high school.”

“However,” he added, “we are excited to have the opportunity to provide a meaningful experience for the Class of 2020, where comradery and celebration can still occur within the confines of the COVID-19 restrictions.”

The class will receive a link where they can download a commencement video as a keepsake.

The district also has tentatively scheduled a Hamilton High School Class of 2020 “In-Person” Commencement Ceremony for July 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Virgil M. Schwarm Stadium, but Wilhelm noted in the letter, using bold lettering: “This event is highly unlikely to take place due to COVID-19 restrictions.”

To attend the drive-in-theater ceremony, members of the class and their families must sign up in advance.

Afterward, on May 22, seniors will receive their diplomas “in a drive-thru setting at Hamilton High School,” the principal wrote. It will happen on the school’s main campus between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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