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New Britain to hold drive-in graduation ceremonies for high school seniors

The ceremonies will take place over two days at Willow Brook Park, and will be streamed live
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NEW BRITAIN, Conn — New Britain, Conn. - With current social distancing guidelines school districts had to get creative to hold graduations for the class of 2020, especially some of the bigger districts.

New Britain has more than 500 graduating seniors, they had to split the class into four different graduations on two different days, all happening by vehicle.

Still everyone got to walk across the stage and they all got too do so it in front of their families.

Some families piling in the back of pick up trucks so they didn’t miss this special occasion!

“ It’s thanks to my mom because she put this whole idea together. I was just going to stay in the car but she pulled up in a truck and here we go,” said NBHS graduate Ja-Zion Castro.

Others going above and beyond decorating their rides. All helping to make this day a little more special for the seniors, and creating memories they certainly will not forget.

“ I feel like we’re part of the history in a way, I feel like a lot of people are really gonna respect us for keeping it Together because it was hard it was hard it wasn’t easy and we lost a lot of stuff that we worked hard for over the last 12 years so you know. It’s really nice that they did this for us I really appreciate it,” said NBHS Graduate Nayelie Acevedo

The class will include more than 500 seniors from NBHS, the NBHS Satellite Careers Academy (SCA), and Brookside School.

The ceremonies will be held at Willow Brook Park and streamed live on CSDNB’s media platforms. School officials said the ceremonies will be reminiscent of a drive-in with large LED screens and amplified speakers placed throughout the lot. 

The graduation ceremonies will be split into the following manner:
• Friday, July 31 at 9 AM: Students with the last name L through P
• Friday, July 31 at Noon: Students with the last name Q through Z

It will include both virtual and in-person speakers, and vehicles will be separated from each other by at least one parking space. 

Most important of all: Students will be able to walk across the stage to receive their diploma.


“Each graduating class is special, but the NBHS Class of 2020 will forever be remembered like none other,” said NBHS Principal Damon Pearce. “The character and dignity that they have shown in giving up so much for the greater good of their community gives me great hope for a future with them as our leaders. We will balance our desire to honor every student while providing the safest possible environment for the community to celebrate them in the way they deserve.”

John Mayette, SCA Principal, said that the Class of 2020 should be honored for what they have accomplished in these unprecedented times.

“Their ability to persevere and adapt to these most trying and uncertain times speaks volumes about their character and their desire to succeed. I am especially proud of the SCA students who find themselves facing yet another obstacle, but who have found a way to rise above it. Although this may be a non-traditional graduation, I believe we will be able to celebrate all the students and demonstrate our respect for their hard work and willingness to succeed.”

“Due to the current circumstances, it is unfortunate that we are unable to hold a traditional ceremony for our students who have worked so hard for this throughout their educational career,” said Superintendent Nancy Sarra. “We know that a drive-in ceremony cannot replicate or replace that, but we are doing all we can to ensure that it is an event worth celebrating and one that our students will be proud of.”

In addition to the ceremonies on July 30 and 31, Schaller Auto World on Veterans Drive will display a photo of each graduating senior on their sign overlooking Route 9. Students will be featured in the days leading up to the event. The district said exact times and days will be communicated to students and the public in the coming weeks.

School officials are asking all who are attending to maintain proper social distancing guidelines, as outlined by the State of Connecticut and the CDC. 

There will also be signs throughout the parking lot to remind everyone of these standards. For more information regarding the graduation ceremony, visit the CSDNB website.