LHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
Submitted by Rebecca Tattoli
On Wednesday, June 17, 2020 the entire Linden High School Class of 2020 was invited to participate in a drive-thru post-graduation celebration at Linden Airport which was transformed into a grand venue.
The Covid-19 Pandemic canceled in-person graduations for all graduates this June, but Linden Mayor Derek Armstead along with the Mayor’s Youth Commission and Linden Municipal Airport Manager, Paul Dudley provided an alternative for the graduates and their families to celebrate their achievement.
“We knew we had the space to do it, that we could bring cars in and they could sit in their cars and take part in a post-graduation celebration and stay socially distanced,” said Mayor Armstead.
“This Covid-19 has basically cheated children out of a graduation, a prom, and all the other activities that a graduating class is accustomed to,” said Mayor Derek Armstead. “We felt that we had a facility to be able to accommodate and pull something like this off.”
As television news helicopters flew overhead the event began with a parade of cars, decorated like mini-floats with the graduates poking their heads out of windows and sunroofs and riding in the beds of pick-up trucks. Pastor Pamela Jones did the invocation to start the program, followed by a speech from Mayor Derek Armstead.
Tyler Ferrar, the Senior Class President said “I am happy to embark on a new journey and I’m ready to change the world.”
Salutatorian, Laura Robert-Ubaechu said, “During this stressful time, we have had to learn to cope with different obstacles that have taught us valuable lessons.”
Valedictorian, Sarah Mostafa spoke about effort. She said, “Master Sgt. Gombocz once told me that grades are a reflection of effort, not intelligence. After thinking about that statement, I realized that we put effort into everything we do in life, but it is the amount of effort we put in that determines our success in life.”
Yelena Horre, Principal of LHS rounded out the speeches thanking all and wishing her graduates the best that life can offer. She said, “I really feel that the distance hasn’t been a factor for these kids, I think that there is going to be a bond that will endure forever.”
Graduate, Naomi Borjmatta said, “I think that this is going to be unforgettable, it is a great feeling to have a graduation in this pandemic.” Another graduate, Smarter Bowser said, I feel like this was a good experience, and I am happy that we had something instead of having nothing.”
The post-graduation celebration, which was organized by Mayor Derek Armstead and the Mayor’s Youth Commission, was the first time that the students were all together – albeit in their cars – since the schools closed on March 13.
Photos by City of Linden