For many high school students, the day of getting to hold that piece of paper, stating they have graduated and spending time with all their classmates for possibly last time is a day they long for.
However, due to COVID-19 physical distancing measures, many schools have had to rearrange their graduation ceremonies or cancel them altogether.
Students at one school in Vulcan got to celebrate in a different way.
“This was inspired by a group of parents, community members and staff members that wanted to give our grads something,” said County Central High School principal Leanne Hellman.
In total, 38 students walked the stage Saturday night to loud honks of horns by parents sitting in cars.
“We hope the tassel was worth the hassle,” said Hellman during her address to students.
Her speech, along with the entire ceremony, was available through FM radio for all the families watching in their cars to hear.
“It meant the world to all of us grads just the time and commitment these people put in just to give us something,” said graduating student Luke Jackson.
“It was awesome to actually be able to have something. I have so many friends who didn’t get anything at all,” added Alicia Gateman.
During the pandemic lockdown, students couldn’t attend class as usual, creating a hectic senior year. A regular convocation ceremony was also out of the question because of the public health guidelines.
“They couldn’t see their friends, birthday celebrations got canceled. A lot of our grads have turned 18 in the last few months and they haven’t been able to have the parties they would like to have” said Hellman.
But for all that couldn’t be, County Central's valedictorian for the Class of 2020 says it was all worth it.
"It felt amazing, standing up there with my principal and my vice principal and the superintendent. It was super incredible and something I'll always remember," said Alyssa Groves.
Her dad found it a great experience too.
"I guess it’s nice to see her rewarded in a sense in front of people," said Corey Groves.
From the graduation at the high school the students headed down to the community, where they were met by tons of people honking their horns down Main Street. Students stood underneath light poles where their photos were posted.
“I’m, glad everything turned out the way it did, as you can hear the honking it seems pretty good,” said Alex Horkoff, a brother of a graduate.
The night would conclude with fireworks provided by the Vulcan Lions recreation department and the Town of Vulcan.