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New Britain High seniors walk across stage at drive-in graduation


NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Seniors at New Britain High School finally got to walk across the stage at a graduation ceremony. It took weeks to plan, but graduates are just glad it is finally happening.

It looks kind of like a drive-in movie. Cars lined up in rows in the parking lot of New Britain Stadium facing big screens and a stage. It’s not the ceremony the graduates imagined a few months ago, but they could not imagine graduating without a ceremony.

“I honestly can’t picture it,” said graduate Ja-Zion Castro. “I would be distraught. I’m glad that we can physically walk across the stage.”

Before that could happen, his mother decorated the pickup truck and put the whole family in the back.

“I just wanted to make it happen for him,” Vanessa Lopez said. “I wanted to give him his moment where he didn’t feel the pain of missing out on school.”

New Britain High is one of the biggest schools in the state, so they had to divide up the class into four groups. Two graduations were held Thursday, two more on Friday. It all took lots of planning, but school leaders met their goal.

“That at the very least, we created a ceremony where the seniors could cross the stage,” explained Principal Damon Pearce. “That was what we really wanted to make sure happened. It’s a timeless tradition. We did everything we could to try and honor that for our students.”

One by one those graduates crossed the stage. Their families had to stay in their cars, taking pictures. They were only allowed one vehicle, so some families got creative.

“My thinking was, we have a very, very big family,” said Sherman Modeste from behind the wheel of a rented commuter van with rows of seats. “So they said one vehicle per graduate, but they didn’t say how big, so we got the biggest that we could.”

Their graduate summed up the attitude of everyone here: Be grateful this is happening at all

“Listen, I didn’t even think it was going to happen, but I’m glad it did,” said Aaliyah Anthony.

It was a long, hot, sweaty ceremony, and remember, it was just the first of four graduations. New Britain High School is so big, they will have two more Friday, at 9 a.m. and noon.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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