Latta High School hosted a drive-thru, outdoor graduation Tuesday evening, a measure that is becoming a common sight at schools across the nation during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

Seniors and their families arrived at the school separately, and were encouraged to maintain social distance by remaining in their vehicles during the gathering. Although some seniors briefly gathered together with their classmates for a photograph or two, organizers were able to keep the majority of those in attendance well-separated.

“We’ve got 59 seniors,” Stan Cochran, Latta High School Principal, said. “We’re doing a drive-in graduation. It’s the first time we’ve ever done something like this.

“There are two feelings. One, the students don’t get to do a regular graduation setting at this point, although we have a tentative live ceremony scheduled for July 11, if we’re able to do it. And two, the students are in caps and gowns, they’re celebrating. We’ve got a great feeling, and we’re going to have fun and celebrate their accomplishments tonight.”

Graduating seniors expressed similar mixed feelings about the event.

“In a way, it’s kinda special, we get something out of the ordinary, and it’s always good to go outside the box,” senior Sadie Reed said. “It’s fun to see everybody getting dressed up and getting their cars all painted and stuff. But it is kind of a bummer because we expected to be all in a group and throw our hats in the air all together.”

“It’s very different,” senior Hudson Little said. “It isn’t at all what I expected. It’s kind of sad that we’re not able to celebrate in the traditional way.”

Little said he is headed to Oklahoma State University in the fall.

“I’m going to go to OSU for aerospace and mechanical engineering,” Little said. “That’s going to be pretty cool.”

Richard R. Barron | The Ada News

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