Drive-in Graduation Update

Alexander Wolff

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,

Planning this year’s graduation has been an extremely difficult endeavor as we seek to give our students a meaningful and appropriate commencement to celebrate their remarkable achievements. Throughout the spring, we have sought to navigate the changing guidance from New York State as well as the numerous logistical and safety challenges that our “new normal” presents. 

As we began finalizing plans for a drive-in style graduation at SUNY Purchase, the Governor announced just this past weekend that in-person graduations would be permitted with a maximum of 150 people, so long as proper social distancing guidelines were followed. Given that the class of 2020 totals more than 200 students, the only way this would be possible would be to split the graduation into two ceremonies and forgo the tradition of having parents and families attend. As part of our efforts to provide students voice and agency, we asked our soon-to-be graduates to vote on these options - a drive-in style event at SUNY Purchase, or splitting the class to do an in-person event. The drive-in option was the winner with 56% of the vote. 

Following the vote, an alternative idea was suggested by students to have two graduation ceremonies run simultaneously, one on Franklin Field and one on Ingalls Field. We discussed this idea with legal counsel and came to the determination that we do not believe this plan would be permitted under state guidance as there would more significantly more than 150 people on the campus at the same time. We also explored having one ceremony at Glover Field and one on Franklin Field, however both of these options would still prevent families from attending and would present logistical hurdles as far as staffing and cost. 

With all of this in mind, we are moving forward with our plans for a drive-in ceremony at SUNY Purchase beginning at 12:30pm on Saturday, June 27. Below are some additional details about the ceremony:

  • The ceremony will be a mix of prerecorded video and live speeches, remarks and the names of each graduating Senior presented

  • The entire ceremony will be simulcast onto three high resolution LED outdoor screens using a 4K camera, providing optimal viewing for one car per graduate

  • The audio of the entire ceremony will be broadcast live to a FM-radio signal.

  • Restrooms will be available on site in a luxury trailer with an attendant. They will be cleaned every 30 minutes.

  • The lot will open at approximately 11:15am and cars will be checked in by security

  • The ceremony is anticipated to last 1.5 to 2 hours

We believe that this option provides the best opportunity for our students to graduate together, with their families in attendance. Please view this flyer for additional details about what we hope will be a memorable end to a most unusual year. 


Jeannine Clark

PMHS Principal

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