By David Fleet
Goodrich-Car horns blared, families cheered and Martians graduated.
On April 2 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered all K-12 schools to remain closed throughout the academic year to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. Statewide, the order shuttered school campuses and sent about 1.5 million students home for about 30 percent of the academic year.
Despite the abrupt closure at 7 p.m., June 18 on a hot, humid 90 degree evening about 180 Goodrich seniors received diplomas in the south parking lot at Goodrich High School near the Roy U. Stacey Athletic Complex.
“We were optimistic that we can do this,” said Mike Baszler, GHS principal. The graduation is very restrictive and be assured we followed the governor’s executive orders to keep all safe. We just can’t thank the parents and community members that helped pull this together. So much of the senior’s journey was altered near the end of the school year and it’s hard to provide a clear picture of the future. The students want to see their teachers and be together one last time—they are adapting to the changing world and we were on a path to honor our seniors.”
The drive up outdoor graduation featured students, family and friends arriving together in vehicles parking in a semi circle around a stage. An estimated 230 vehicles arrived and could hear the graduation via an FM feed to car radios. Two 10 -foot by -20 foot LED screens along with a live stream feed broadcast the graduation. The students were called up in groups of 60 and were seated six feet apart in front of the stage.