Berrien Springs HS holds drive-in graduation

NOW: Berrien Springs HS holds drive-in graduation

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. -- For Berrien Springs High School seniors, their moment on the Youth Fairgrounds stage couldn’t come soon enough, even if it meant sitting through a car and the heat.

But Sunday, the masks couldn’t keep away the smiles for long.

“It’s having fun with what we can do, that’s just really important at this time,” senior Enoch Sibande said.

“I can’t believe I’m on the car and not sitting with my friends, but I’m really glad we were able to do something like this and be able to walk,” senior Jada Willis said.

The graduation might not have looked like a traditional one, with students and families staying in the car through much of the ceremony, and listening on a radio like with drive-in theaters, as the production streamed live.

The graduates didn’t seem to mind the rather improvised plan of picking up their diplomas, though, and neither did family members.

“At first we were like, ‘How is this going to work?’ And then we’re actually here now,” brother of graduate Lonhi Sibande said. “The atmosphere is great. They did a great job and you know, having a radio station transmitting the program. They did the best they could with the situation. It’s great. I don’t see any problems with it honestly. In fact, it’s pretty unique their class has this.”

But make no mistake; the kids went through a lot, according to one mom.

“It’s been very challenging,” mother of graduate Kyna King said. “A lot of unknowns, anxieties, stress with everything surrounding COVID-19 but we have continued to encourage (our) Kevin, and push Kevin along the way, including all of the other graduates.”

It was also a ceremony Principal Ryan Pesce never thought he’d see himself planning for the class of 2020.

And yet, he says it was an overwhelming success to think about going forward.

“We are building a brand new athletic stadium in Berrien Springs, we’re going to have a turf field,” Pesce said. “We are talking about having an outdoor format like this more often because it worked really well. Despite the challenges that we faced, we were able to pull off a pretty good graduation and we like some of the formats, so we’ll probably use it.”

“But not the vehicles! We’ll have chairs. Hopefully in the future we will actually be able to sit next to each other.”

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