GLADWIN – This year’s graduation ceremony will be like none other! We have pulled out all of the stops to make the class of 2020 commencement a truly amazing experience. I am really excited to see all of you on June 14. Here is what you need to know:

The ceremony will be held at Gladwin’s Zettel Memorial airport beginning at 3 p.m. and will be a drive-in ceremony. This means that graduates and their guests will park and stay in their vehicles. The ceremony will be very similar to our traditional graduation with the exception that graduates and their families will remain in their vehicles except during the time when the graduates will leave their cars to walk across the stage to receive their diploma. I have explained the entire ceremony in the coming paragraphs.

We have hired a production company to set up a large stage at the airport parking lot. The stage will be elevated so that the ceremony will be able to be seen from vehicles. The audio for the ceremony will be broadcast by Gladwin’s very own radio station located at 96.5 on the FM dial. You will be able to tune your vehicle radio to 96.5 FM to hear everything that is said from the stage. 

We have hired a professional photographer who will be taking pictures of everything including individual pictures of each student as they cross the stage to receive their diploma. There will be no need to leave your vehicle to take pictures. In fact, we must ask that you and your guests remain in your vehicle except when you, and only you, come up to the stage for your diploma or to make your address. Each family will receive one five by seven inch photograph of their graduate crossing the stage and receiving the diploma. The photo will be mailed to you with your diploma. There will be no cost for this picture. Pictures of the Valedictorian and Salutatorians will also be provided to those families free of charge. Photos of the top 10 students receiving their plaques with their same household escort will be provided free of charge. Pictures of the class president turning the tassel will be provided to her free of charge. All of the photos taken by the professional photographer will be made available for purchase if families would like more copies. The free copies will be mailed with the actual diploma.

We have also hired a professional video production company to digitally record the entire ceremony. The digital recording will be professionally edited and produced.  Copies of the recording will be made available to families at no cost. The event will also be live-streamed on the Gladwin Community Schools Facebook page.

Here is how the ceremony will progress:

We will begin the ceremony by playing “Pomp and Circumstance” as the seniors and their families arrive and park. Seniors should arrive in their cap and gown at 2:10. Remember to tune your radio to 96.5 FM. Mr. Seebeck, Mrs. Brown, valedictorian and salutatorian addresses will be given from the stage.  The valedictorian and salutatorians will each be called to the stage when it is their turn to speak.  They will get out of their cars and walk up to the stage, give their address and return to their vehicles when finished.  Next, we will be playing the traditional “Armed Forces Salute” and ask that you turn on your hazard signals when the song from your branch of service is played. Next, the top 10 students will be called individually to the stage with their escort. Escorts should be someone who is living in the same household. After receiving their plaque, each top 10 student will return to their vehicle and the next person will be called up. We will not have the top 10 lined up as we have in the past.  Each individual student and their same household escort will be called to the stage, receive their plaque and return to their vehicle. We will repeat this process for each of the top 10 students. After the top 10 presentations, we will begin calling each individual graduate to the stage for the awarding of the diplomas. When your name is called you will get out of your vehicle and walk across the stage to receive your diploma. Do not get out of your vehicle until your name is called. Please keep at least 10 feet of spacing between you and the person in front of you. After picking up your diploma, students will leave the stage and return to their vehicle. After the last diploma is given, the president of the class of 2020 will then be called to the stage for the turning of the tassel and will return to her vehicle when finished. The final bell will ring at the conclusion of the ceremony and will play over the FM radio.

After the final bell, vehicles with graduates inside will leave first in a procession that will be escorted by police cars and terminate at the High School parking lot. Please drive carefully through the high school parking lot without stopping. My son is a senior and I realize the temptation to stop and get out of your vehicle at the high school but I must require that you not do that. Again, do not stop at the high school and get out of your vehicle.  

Here are some important details:

Portable restrooms will be provided on site. They will be spaced 15 feet apart to allow for social distancing.

Unfortunately, there is no way that we can have the band or choir safely perform. We will be playing recorded music for the ceremony through the radio station 96.5 FM.

We will need to stagger the arrival times for graduates and their guests in order to keep the parking lot orderly and ensure that everyone can park in an area from which they can see the stage. Please arrive in your cap and gown at 2:10 p.m. and follow the directions of the parking assistants. If you have invited family members who will arriving in a different vehicle, please ask them to arrive no earlier than 2:30 p.m.  

Seniors should have received an email with a link to a Google survey asking how many vehicles they will have coming to see the graduation. Please respond to that survey so that we can get an estimate of how many vehicles we will need to park. Here is the link if you did not get the email:

We are asking that graduates arrive in vehicles with their immediate family from the same household. Graduates should not be arriving in vehicles with each other unless they reside in the same household.  

The ceremony will take place rain or shine. The stage is covered, and we will have covered walkways leading from the parking area to the stage.

You and your guests must remain in your cars unless you are called to the stage. The ceremony will be stopped if anyone’s behavior is deemed to pose a risk to the health and safety of others.

Your class “clap” will be done using the car horn, which will be two short beeps whenever “Class of 2020” is said. You can view a sample of the class “clap” on the school’s Facebook page.

Your diploma will not be in the cover you receive when crossing the stage. It will be mailed to your home along with your photo.

I am asking that you treat this ceremony the same as you would if we had it in the gym. Please respect the event and behave accordingly. Please do not leave your vehicle for any reason other than using the restroom. Feel free to contact me with any questions you have at 989-429-0610. 

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