Car engines and cranked-up air conditioning provided a steady hum in the background of Bryan High School’s Class of 2020 drive-in graduation ceremony on Sunday, but as different as the celebration turned out to be, it did little to break the spirit of the 154 Golden Bear graduates.
Nationwide regulations on large gatherings were put in place a few months prior in an effort to slow the spread of the global coronavirus outbreak. And while it put an end to the original plans for Sunday’s ceremony, Bryan City Schools devised a plan to hold the celebration in the school’s parking lot, complete with a stage and sound system in front of the event entrance.
Virtually all other schools in the area have committed to similar plans for graduation, including Fairview, Edon and Montpelier high schools, which also held their respective commencements on Sunday.
One-by-one, the Bryan graduates lined up and walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, as their parents and family trailed behind to pick them back up in their vehicles — many of which were decked out in Bryan memorabilia or the gear of the graduate’s future college.
The indomitable class includes eight students with perfect 4.0 GPAs, six with ACT scores at or above 30, in addition to 47 inductees to the National Honor Society. As a group, the graduates have tallied close to $2.9 million in college scholarships.
“BHS 2020 has never been one to shy away from a challenge,” Bryan Class President Erika Grime said in her address to her classmates. “Although we are living at an unprecedented time, the entire world remains within our reach. ... I challenge each one of us to continue to be the person that changes someone’s day and lifts others up.
“We can all take pride in the young adults we’ve become and what we’ve achieved, so while I have all of your attention for the final time, I want to thank you for your strength and sacrifice in the face of adversity. Your kind hearts and driven minds truly exemplify what it means to be a Golden Bear.”