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Clintondale seniors honored at outdoor graduation ceremony

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published June 18, 2020

 A Clintondale High School senior hugs a family  member after she graduates June 12.

A Clintondale High School senior hugs a family member after she graduates June 12.

Photo by Mellissa Greene, provided by Clintondale Community Schools

 A graduate stands in her gown, outside her family vehicle.

A graduate stands in her gown, outside her family vehicle.

Photo by Mellissa Greene, provided by Clintondale Community Schools

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clintondale High School seniors recently got an outdoor send-off.

Graduating seniors were able to celebrate via a drive-thru graduation ceremony on the grounds of the high school 2-4 p.m. June 12.

Families of seniors were limited to one vehicle each. Seniors gathered in the football stadium for a senior class photo and then got back in their vehicles to head to the front of the school.

A stage was constructed in front of the school for the ceremony. Clintondale Community Schools Board of Education members were present and greeted each senior one by one as they vacated their vehicles upon name announcement and walked across the stage to receive a diploma.

They were each photographed with Clintondale Community Schools Superintendent Greg Green and Clintondale High Principal Maloney Cargill. Assistant Principal Dawn Sanchez had the students move their tassels from the right to the left upon receiving their diploma.

Clintondale Community Schools Administrative Assistant Chuck Pleiness said a DJ was hired to play typical graduation music during the ceremony, as well as tunes before and afterwards.

“Families did an amazing job dressing up their cars and were very enthusiastic during the entire ceremony,” Pleiness said. “Teachers lined up along the side of the high school to cheer every car and family.”

Speeches were pre-recorded by the school principals, class presidents, class sponsors and valedictorians. A commencement speech by former Detroit Lions football player Lomas Brown was played on all of the district’s social media platforms the morning of graduation.

All of the speeches, as well as Brown’s address, will be put together and shared with every student — including pictures from the graduation and other video from the afternoon celebration.

It was a unique way to celebrate the finality of a peculiar school year — one which concluded with students working on their studies from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pleiness said the district had over a 95% participation rate among the students. He said the district’s mixed modality curriculum, which included paper packets as well as online instruction, was the most successful option for students.

“Our students’ well-being and safety, as well as their social and emotional supports, were on the forefront of what we did during our remote learning time,” he said. “We did the best we could under the circumstances, as did every other school district in Michigan.”