Graduation at the Drive-In

St. Mary's High School Honors its Senior Class

Graduation celebration

Photo: USA Today

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - "Graduation is a big deal, so we found a Drive-In and Graduation 2020 is playing tonight," said Keith Junik, Dean of Academics at St. Mary's High School in Lancaster.

Thursday night, St. Mary's will put on a graduation movie at the Transit Drive-In in Lockport. "A lot of it is traditional," said Junik. "You'll see our Valedictorian and Salutatorian speeches and speeches from faculty and staff. We also have a montage of photos from baby pictures to graduation photos." He says it will play just like an hour and twenty minute movie that you might see at the Drive-In.  

Western New York is still in Phase One of reopening, so that means that no one will leave their cars and no one is walking across a stage.  The event is invitation only. It is limited to 150 cars.

Junik says the original reaction from everybody was disappointment. "It's not what they wanted. It's not what they are used to. But over time, this movie idea seemed kind of neat and outside the box. We're hoping for a shared experience for all 112 of our graduates. We'll be seeing each other in our cars and we're all in one space to watch it," he said.

The high school administrator calls the pandemic the world's largest curveball. "We're just taking a swing at it and trying our best." School officials are very excited about the movie that they produced. 

As for the next school year, Junik said we don't know enough right now. "The virus is changing almost daily with recommendations from the CDC and the state. As they learn more, we learn more."

He said they are putting together different scenarios, from a regular school day, to a mixed schedule of classes and remote learning, to all online learning.  Junik said St. Mary's in Lancaster is a small school but they still have issues with hallways and the cafeteria as big gathering points. "It's wait and see, just like it is for everybody," he said.

St Mary's High School graduation invitation



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