JACKSON TWP. Horns were blaring, gold and purple balloons were flying from the top of cars, teachers and administrators lined the procession line and the 2020 Jackson High School seniors were dressed in cap and gown for the special drive thru graduation.
The special event was held in front of the Jackson High School on May 28. Graduates and their families were loaded into family vehicles, many of which were decorated in school colors or had photos of the graduate taped to the outside.
As the different grads and families arrived, they entered the school grounds from the west side of the building and drove around the back to the side and looped around to the front of the building. By the end of the drive, the graduate was invited to step out of the car and one of the school board members gave them their diploma. There was a photographer there to take photos of the milestone occasion.
The cars were decorated with balloons, posters, signs and much more as well as the front lawn of the high school where graduates were greeted with signs, teachers and administrators cheering them on. The archway where the grad received their diploma was made of gold and purple balloons.
“Students can tune into their car radio to hear the student names being called as the graduate drives up to the archway,” said Jackson High School principal Jeff Kracker. “We are also doing a virtual graduation with all of the pomp and circumstance where there will be speeches and the Alma Mater will be sung.”
Kracker said that families and graduates could drive to the parking lot of Sauder Elementary after the procession to get out of their cars for photos. In addition to the drive thru graduation and virtual graduation, Jackson High School organized a senior procession for May 30 where the Jackson Township safety services helped lead a procession of graduates in their cars through the township.
“We are doing everything we can to highlight this year’s graduating class and how much they have contributed to the community and that we recognize and celebrate them,” Kracker said. “The virtual graduation will launch at 7 p.m. on June 8th. It will have more of the traditional elements such as senior awards, speeches by administrators, board members and students and some student performances. Each student will have their own slide with a list of their accomplishments, honors and awards.”
Kracker said the virtual graduation will also include videos of the students moving their tassel and a cap toss. He said the virtual graduation will be broadcast on the school’s Facebook page as well as having a youtube link.
“These grads have missed out on so much with the shut down and we want to make them feel as good as possible about their graduation. This graduating class is exceptional. This is the first graduating class that I’ve been with the entire four years of high school. I’ve been principal with them for the past four years,” Kracker said.