Bixby Graduation Parade

Bixby senior Charles Scotto checks his phone while sitting in the back of his truck during a graduation parade for Bixby High School seniors in Bixby on Thursday, May 7, 2020.

IAN MAULE/Tulsa World

Congratulations, graduates.

After one of the strangest senior years in the history of public education, the Class of 2020 is ready to take on the world ... diplomas in hand.

Tulsa Public Schools will wrap up a week-long series of drive-up graduation events on Friday with events to honor the new graduates from three Tulsa high schools.

The unorthodox motor celebrations allow the district’s graduating seniors to experience some of the pomp lost to the current circumstances in a COVID-19-safe fashion. They got to wear a cap and gown, pick up a diploma cover and turn their tassels while wearing a mask and riding inside their cars.

This summer, conditions permitting, the district says it hopes to host a more traditional graduation event, where students would be able to be together and walk across as stage.

Meanwhile, after initially announcing that the district’s graduates would only receive a virtual graduation online, Union Superintendent Kirt Hartzler announced last week that the district will hold a modified in-person graduation July 23 at Union High School’s Tuttle Stadium. The COVID-19-safe ceremony is subject to rescheduling if social distancing mandates get in the way.

The Union event will be limited to the approximately 1,070 graduating seniors. That allows the senior class to walk across a stage and celebrate their accomplishments together after a fashion, but excludes their families.

This week, Owasso seniors rallied to emphasize their opposition to a virtual ceremony, too.

Neither solution is ideal, which the districts’ leaders would be the first to acknowledge, but they are what can be done safely with an eye toward COVID-19 social distancing mandates.

We salute the graduates for the perseverance they’ve shown in 2020, and the districts’ leaders for the imagination they have shown throughout the troubled year, including its ceremonial conclusions.

The Class of 2020 — the unrivaled champions of senior skip day — made its mark and will not soon be forgotten.


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