No one really knew how it would go– an outdoor, drive-by graduation. No speeches, no crowds: simply drop off your graduate, drive around the football field and cheer for your kid.
No one has ever done this before.
I really felt for our amazing committee of parents, students, administrators who worked for weeks brainstorming, planning, considering, appeasing– all without any knowledge of what restrictions would be in place, or what the world would look like on May 22nd at 7 PM.
Yes, people were confused. Yes, it was cold and rainy. Yes, students and parents came at the wrong time and went the wrong way.
And it was beautiful.
The football stadium was festooned with hundred of balloons, banners and ribbons. A saintly committee of parents took the time to create giant photo posters of single senior, then lined the bleachers for a giant virtual gathering. An incredible audio visual team set up five cameras and a drone to livestream the entire event. We were lucky enough to man three cameras (Xander and Mary for the entire event and I took bonus photos) and we used Gabe as our practice subject.
Another photographer, Cristy Powell took photos (like this one below) of every student when they stepped out of the car.
The timing worked out perfectly for families to drop off their student, cheer for them as they rounded the stadium and pick up their graduate on the other side. Families festooned their cars with balloons and banners and car paint; they sent off fireworks and confetti cannons, blasted music, set up tents in the back of pick up trucks.
Teachers lined the way as students walked to a platform, listened to their name announced and bumped elbows with the principal. Teachers cheered and students laughed and cried.
There was just so much love.
Let’s be honest, when we go to graduations, we do enjoy the speeches, we do enjoy seeing other people, but really, we just care about our own kid. We just want to take a moment to mark their accomplishments, to savor their presence in our life, to take FAR too many photos and buy him Chick-Fil-A for dinner because it’s his favorite.
Gabe’s graduation? It was perfect.