Disclaimer: I have many warm memories at the Transit Drive-in in Lockport, NY. It's where my parents took me to see "Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace," and where my friends and I goofed off instead of watching "Spider-Man 3" because of its awful plot, and where I enjoyed an unhealthy amount of concession stand candy. But this Thursday, the outdoor movie theater served a different purpose: it was the scene of a high school graduation.
The administrators at St. Mary's High School in Lancaster, NY, wanted to give seniors some semblance of a ceremony, so they turned the Transit Drive-in into a makeshift graduation venue.
"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.
St. Mary's played a graduation movie on one of the big screens featuring pre-recorded speeches and photos of all the graduates. Seniors also received St. Mary's "swag bags."
"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."
You can usually catch your favorite films at the Transit Drive-In Theatre in Lockport, but little did the @stmaryslancers class of 2020 know that they’d be celebrating their graduation there.https://t.co/drPPhN9jdU— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonNewsTV) May 29, 2020
St. Mary’s High School graduates are the stars of tonight’s movie at Transit Drive-In theater. The class of 2020 and their families are gathered here. A movie with pictures of them and speeches that would take place at a typical graduation will play on the big screen. @WKBW pic.twitter.com/zM4OFgrQlX— Gilat Melamed (@gilat_melamed) May 29, 2020
Of course, there were restrictions. Only 150 cars were allowed in, and no one was permitted to leave their vehicles.
We feel for all of this year's graduating high school and college seniors who didn't have the traditional commencements they were looking forward to having. High profile guests who were supposed to deliver the keynote speeches, such as Dr. Deborah Birx, had to deliver their words of inspiration virtually.
There have been some unexpected perks, however. For instance, I'm sure the Missouri State University Class of 2020 wasn't expecting to get a personal message from Brad Pitt, who lived in Missouri for much of his childhood.
Business at the Transit Drive-in, by the way, is doing just fine. It sold out on its opening night earlier this month, even with the new social distancing guidelines.