GBHS plans drive-in commencement for Class of ‘20

GRAND BLANC — Grand Blanc Community Schools officials are working on a plan to make sure the Class of 2020 gets some sort of graduation ceremony.

Friday, Grand Blanc High School Principal Mike Fray notified parents that a modified commencement will take place Thursday, June 4, at the US-23 Drive-In on Fenton Road in Mundy Township.

“We are doing something a little different obviously because we’re living in a very different time right now,” said Superintendent Clarence Garner.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic sent the whole country into a tailspin, commencement was scheduled for June 4 at the Dort Financial Event Center. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order prohibiting social gatherings torpedoed that tradition, however.

Taping currently is underway for a “virtual graduation.”

Names, along with some of the accomplishments, of each of the 654 graduates will appear on the drive-in theater screen.

“We will follow our typical script,” said Garner. “We will have student speakers; I will give my speech. It’s all being taped.”

The program, which is scheduled to begin at 9:15 p.m., is expected to last about 90 minutes, which is typical for a GBHS graduation ceremony.

The drive-in can accommodate about 800 vehicles. One vehicle per graduate will be allowed to enter, and the appropriate social distancing guidelines will be enforced inside. As of press time, it was unclear what guidelines would be in place by June 4.

In fact, district administrators are still awaiting word on whether the state will allow the drive-in event. If the governor extends the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, the ceremony will be postponed.

“It could just be a live stream if the governor’s order says we can’t do that,” said Garner.

In any case, the live stream will take place for any family members who cannot attend in person.

Gates will open at 7:45 p.m. Seniors can pick up vehicle placards, which will allow entry to the drive-in, June 1 when they collect their caps and gowns, letters, pins and honors cords.

“We’re excited about it,” said Garner. “It’s a great opportunity to recognize our seniors. They want some closure on their high school careers.”