LIHU‘E — The Class of 2020 celebrated commencement convoy-style on Friday with more than 600 seniors turning the tassel in graduation ceremonies that looked much different than the normal pomp and circumstance in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Without the ability to gather in large groups as is usual during graduation ceremonies, schools elected to convoy graduates and honor them with drive-thru ceremonies.
Waimea High School kicked off the island’s celebrations with a 10 a.m. start to their ceremony — one that involved 147 grads in their caps and gowns grabbing drive-thru diplomas at a little stage in Mana and then convoying through a water cannon send-off, courtesy of Kauai Fire Department, before hitting up a smattering of food trucks that were offering free meals to grads in celebration of their achievements.
In Lihu‘e, Kaua‘i High School sponsored a convoy for the 274 students in their Class of 2020, which began at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School and ended at Kauai High School’s campus. Traffic was monitored and controlled by Kaua‘i Police Department while seniors drove in style to celebrate. Then they headed home to watch a virtual commencement ceremony hosted by Kaua‘i High School alumni Ashley Nagaoka, a reporter from Hawaii News Now.
Each graduate will receive a DVD and hard copy program during diploma pickup at Kaua‘i High School from Tuesday, May 26 through Thursday May 28, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Kapa‘a High School graduated 250 seniors in a drive-through diploma ceremony at the Ron Martin Baseball Field. They had no convoy because the students decided they didn’t want one. The Warriors’ class consisted of 34 valedictorians. Kian Viernes finished with the highest GPA out of the group with a 4.235-grade point average. He plans on studying engineering at University of Hawai‘i at M‘anoa. The students were presented their diplomas by Kapa‘a High School Principal Tommy Cox, then given their gift baskets, and walked backed to the car, where they were to remain because of the school’s mandatory social distancing protocols.
Look for more graduation coverage in the Sunday edition of The Garden Island.