By Brandon Martin
Graduation Day signifies a milestone in the lives of many young adults. While the memory may be vague for some, most can usually recall the time-honored tradition of walking across the stage to get their diploma.
Henry County and the City of Martinsville’s Class of 2020 didn’t have that option this year–but they arguably may have gotten something more memorable in the form of drive-thru ceremonies and virtual dedications.
I joined my sister for her very own drive-thru graduation at Martinsville High School on May 23 and, a decade removed from my own experience, I think she may have gotten the better deal.
The staff at the high school, with the assistance of local officials, had obviously planned the ceremony very well.
We entered through Fairy Street at the entrance near the tennis courts. From there we joined the line marked off by the cones and waited our turn.
While in the queue, various students got out of their cars to take photos in their caps and gowns in front of the school entrance. Cars were decorated with signs, decals, balloons, and a variety of other celebratory items.
As we made our way into the entrance of the school track, a woman met us with a tablet and checked us in. From that point, there were only three cars ahead of us.
Off to the side, the school had set up a way for students to mark their special day by having their photo taken by Strawbridge Studios. From there, students were all set for their very own victory lap. As the seniors of 2020 took theirs, teachers and faculty cheered from the stands and bid their students a farewell as the route led out, towards the vocational building.
Before students could drive off for good, they had to make one final stop at the end of the route to obtain their actual diploma.
In addition to the drive-thru ceremony, the school released a virtual graduation ceremony complete with musical performances and remarks by Superintendent Dr. Zebedee Talley, Jr., Class President Allen Herndon, Senior Representative Clark Givens and Kathryne Lynn Hruza.
County schools, including Bassett High School and Magna Vista High School, also held similar drive-thru parades and virtual graduations.