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."
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.