By: Sharon Aron Baron
Calvary Christian Academy held an outdoor “drive-in” graduation experience for their seniors this year.
This year, there were 151 graduates including five from Parkland: Alexandra Espinoza, Bryce Van Dyken, Hailey Young, Marcus McDougle, and Max McCarthy.
The Class of 2020 and their closest family members and friends parked their cars on a large grass field to experience the live ceremony.
To hear and see the program, they tuned into an FM frequency on their car radios and turned their heads toward the giant screens on each side of the stage.
The seniors walked across an outdoor stage to have their moment of recognition while maintaining social distancing.
“We wanted to give our seniors the most authentic, safe, and memorable graduation experience possible considering the circumstances,” said Head of School, Dr. Jason Rachels. “This is an exceptional class that deserved an exceptional send-off.”
Calvary’s Class of 2020 was accepted to more than 50 colleges, and universities throughout the country earned more than $2 million in scholarships, completed more than 41,000 community service hours.
The class also included three National Merit Finalists, four Miami Herald Silver Knight nominees, 21 AP Scholars, 12 committed collegiate athletes, four international students, as well as one United States Air Force Academy Cadet.
The valedictorian and salutatorian had the opportunity to address their peers in person from the stage’s podium.
“I didn’t think I’d be able to share my speech from a live stage with everything going on,” said Kaitlyn Tully, valedictorian. “I was so surprised and excited when I found out that I would be able to experience a memory. I was really looking forward to having.”
The formal ceremony was followed by a car parade recessional. As the graduates and guests exited the school’s property honking the horns of their decorated vehicles, their faces beamed with joy.
“There was no shortage of excitement and your traditional pomp and circumstance at this commencement ceremony,” said Aaron Mills, Calvary’s high school principal.
“The creativity and collaboration of our dedicated faculty and staff at CCA and our parent church, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, made all of the event logistics a successful reality,” he said.
Mills added that they were delighted to have received such positive feedback from their graduates and their families.
“They not only felt loved but also sensed God’s presence throughout the event,” said Mills. “We ultimately thank Him for giving us great weather and allowing this in-person graduation experience to happen. It will be one for the history books, that’s for sure.”
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