ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) Friday was a big day for high school graduations in our area. CVU alone gave out diplomas to more than 300 students. And they received them in person, something many thought would not be possible because of coronavirus. Our Ike Bendavid shows you how.
The pride of a pep rally, the feel of a football game and the look of a drive-in movie. Put it all together and you have a socially distanced graduation for the Champlain Valley Union High School class of 2020.
"It's crazy, honestly," graduate Taylor Hoar said.
"I have never seen anything like this," graduate Olivia Giroux said.
With the coronavirus canceling large gatherings, the Champlain Valley Expo became the host site for the drive-in graduation.
As horns honked, 300 seniors celebrated and walked across the stage.
"I think there is something pretty special about this moment," graduate Asa Lawson said. "I mean, no other class has got to have this different of a graduation experience."
"I was really bummed at first when I was like, it was going to be a Zoom graduation," Hoar said. "But it's really cool we get to be here and walk, too."
Parents and students were thankful for the school giving them this opportunity.
"I just really applaud the staff and the administration because they have worked so hard to make it really special for kids," said Kim Jennings, a parent.
"The teachers and the school board really put a lot out there for our class," Lawson said.
"I'm so thankful for that," Hoar said. "I think they are awesome and they have been so good through this."
Teachers and staff just proud of their students.
"I think it's a symbol of kids being able to overcome something they didn't expect and the fact that they are so excited and hopeful and looking forward, I think they will be able to take this with them," said Amanda Terwillegar, a teacher at CVU.
A once in a lifetime opportunity for the class of 2020.
"In how many years when people say, 'What were you doing in 2020 when the pandemic hit?' I can say, 'Graduating,'" Alex Akey said.
CVU is not the only high school graduation expected at the Expo this weekend. South Burlington and Essex grads will also walk the stage.