The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Drive-Through Graduations Should Be Here to Stay


  “Hey seniors, if you’re really missing graduation sit in the sun wearing a shower curtain while someone reads from a phonebook for 3 hours,” read a recent viral tweet, which aptly summarizes the typical San Luis Obispo High School graduation.

Long, uncomfortable, and boring, the structure of our high school graduation has long been accepted just because it’s tradition.

  This year, however, schools across the country are being forced to change their graduation routines to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis. San Luis Obispo has its own drive by send off for seniors today. Why not consider the drive-through graduation?

One way of doing this is to have drive-through graduations like the one being put on at Arroyo Grande High School. In their version of the ceremony, each student drives into the parking lot with their family at a predetermined time. The student then gets out of the car, walks across a stage and gets their name announced, and gets a photo opportunity. They then get back into the car and leave. This version of graduation is far more efficient than the normal version, and easier for students and their families. It should become the norm from here on out. 

  For one, it would save so much time for the students and their families, and make that time so much more valuable. Instead of waiting for hours in the heat, listening to the principal give the same speech every year and listening to over three hundred names being called, they only have to be there a minute. And instead of having their family in the distant football stands, unable to take good pictures or witness the graduation up close, their families could come right up to the stage. If people want to celebrate with their friends, they can do that afterwards, on their own time, in much more fun ways.

  A drive through graduation would also save the school money: they wouldn’t have to put on this whole elaborate ceremony, and spend time setting up all the chairs and cleaning up afterwards. This saved time offsets any extra time they would have to spend standing outside and shaking hands, and allows them to put more energy and money into other senior activities. And pretty much all the other senior activities are more fun and memorable, because they involve actual interaction with other seniors and not just sitting on plastic chairs for hours. 

  It would also save students money, and give them the opportunity to escape Jostens (although I’m sure the school has some kind of ridiculous contract with them). The whole reason everyone has to wear the same cap and gown is so everyone looks the same at graduation. But at this proposed drive through graduation, everyone would arrive and leave separately, so there would be no need for uniformity. You wouldn’t have to wear a cap or gown if you didn’t want to.

Past SLOHS graduates agree.

  “It’s hot, way too long, and not fun for the parents or most of the students. Graduation is just a way for [students] to celebrate getting through one of the easiest things with Cs and a way for stuck-up over achievers to get an extra little bit of satisfaction over their peers because they found a way to get .01 higher GPA than everyone else and become salutatorian or valedictorian,” said 2019 SLOHS graduate Ian Poremba.  

  Overall, permanently changing high school graduation to a drive-through graduation would help everyone involved. It’s worth noting that in Britain and several other countries, they don’t really even have high school graduation, and our American celebration is ridiculed as pointless. As Poremba noted, “Celebrating a minor milestone that almost everyone gets is just a glorified participation trophy.”

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    Catrina SadaJun 8, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Everyone in my family loved the drive-through graduation, and my three siblings (SLOHS alums) agree that the drive-through graduation was much better than in-person graduation. I appreciate your biting wit and forthright opinion; you are absolutely correct that it’s time for the traditional graduations to end.