The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Simplemost may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.
High school graduation is a little bit different this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, traditional commencement ceremonies across the country have been canceled. However, some people have created innovative ways for the class of 2020 to experience this important milestone.
Little Elm High School in Little Elm, Texas, held its graduation ceremony at Texas Motor Speedway to let students step out in their caps and gowns while still social distancing. Normally the site of NASCAR races, the speedway near Fort Worth turned out to be the perfect venue for graduating seniors to stage the event.
On the big day, graduates walked from a bank of socially-distanced seats on the left side of the finish line to a bank of socially-distanced seats on the right side of the finish line, pausing in between to accept their diplomas and snap a photo.
Texas Motor Speedway can accommodate more than 100,000 spectators, but the stands were empty that day. Instead, the graduates’ families watched the ceremony on the venue’s jumbotron, nicknamed “Big Hoss,” from inside their cars in the parking lot.
Check it out in the video posted to YouTube by Texas Motor Speedway:
Little Elm is not the only high school to host their graduation ceremony at the speedway this year. In fact, the venue is hosting a total of 31 graduations for high schools across the state. The Dallas Morning News reported that Denton County Judge Andy Eads came up with the idea of using the speedway for commencement ceremonies, after a Zoom meeting with other county officials. A school superintendent on the call had asked what they should do about high school graduations.
“Texas Motor Speedway is just a wonderful resource for us in Denton County, and we should take advantage of it,” Eads told the Morning News.
On Twitter, Mike Mattingly, an associate superintendent, shared photos from Fred Moore High School’s ceremony there on May 22:
— Mike Mattingly (@jmmatt2005) May 22, 2020
“At one point we thought it wasn’t going to happen,” Anthony Innmon, a graduating senior at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club, Texas, which also held its graduation ceremony at Texas Motor Speedway, told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. “Things were getting canceled, breaks extended and we didn’t go back to school. But it’s very fulfilling to have a graduation like this.”
We’re so glad that people have been able to find unique solutions to help graduates feel recognized this year. Congratulations to the entire class of 2020!