When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Midwest and the State of Illinois forced schools to shut their doors after classes ended on March 13, nobody knew how long there would not be classes meeting in person. Once a month had passed, the seniors slowly realized this wasn’t going to be a normal senior tour and graduation season.
It was obvious the seniors missed a chance to say goodbye and thank faculty members as emails flooded teacher inboxes to give gratitude and thanks. There appeared to be an opportunity to give them another chance to do just that. Oak Lawn Community High School and this group of seniors were not going to let the special circumstances of COVID-19 stop them from celebrating a big moment in their lives.
So, on May 26, the school offered an opportunity for the Class of 2020 and their families to do a “Drive-Thru Celebration” in the parking lot while school board members, teachers, faculty members and administrators cheered them on, exchanged brief memories and took photos. In all, 250 seniors and their families attended the event. The seniors also had their photos taken in cap and gown by the front steps of the school.
Cars were decorated with paint, streamers, balloons and posters. Parents smiled, and the members of OLCHS watched as the seniors had their special moment. A rainbow even graced the sky as cars circled the lot, honked horns and played music.
It was an opportunity to create a memory they will never forget and serve as a prelude to the formal graduation ceremony, which is planned for Wednesday, July 29.