WELLFLEET — Schools are shut for the rest of this term, at least, but that doesn’t mean Outer Cape high school seniors and their families won’t have a chance to gather and celebrate.
With the help of John Vincent, owner of the Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre and a 1987 graduate of Nauset Regional High School, the senior classes at both NRHS and Cape Cod Regional Technical High School are planning graduation week events at the drive-in.
Nauset Principal Chris Ellsasser told the Independent on Monday that he hopes the 220 members of the Class of 2020 will be celebrating at the drive-in on Sunday, June 7, each family in its own car. The Wellfleet Board of Health has approved the plan, he said, which still needs a go-ahead from state officials.
“Think of your car as a spacesuit,” said Ellsasser. “If you stay in your car, you’re good. Everything will be in a slide show to be projected on the screen. Channel 22 will be live-streaming the show, with a camera on the parking lot. If you can’t go, you can stay home and watch the presentation.”
Ellsasser and Vincent both emphasized that the plans are still fluid, given the uncertainty surrounding the opening of “nonessential” businesses like drive-in theaters. “We’re still in preliminary stages,” said Vincent on Tuesday. “We don’t have permission from the state.”
Another optimistic high school principal, though, is Billy Terranova at Cape Cod Tech in Harwich. He confirmed that its Class of 2020, with 142 members, had been invited to celebrate graduation at the Wellfleet Drive-In on Thursday, June 4. Vincent’s son is a junior at the school.
“He reached out to us and said, ‘Hey, if you guys want, you can use the drive-in,’ ” said Terranova. “Everyone’s trying to support those kids, who are struggling with this, socially and emotionally.”
The school will be delivering caps and gowns to all the seniors’ homes, he said. “We’re taking pictures of them in their gowns for our slide show. We’re putting that together this week and recording speeches on Thursday. Everyone can bring one car, possibly two. We’ll live-stream the event on Facebook, so those who can’t attend can still experience it. We don’t know exactly how we’re going to do that yet. We hope we can pull it off. We’re pretty excited.”
There are 74 seniors from the four Outer Cape Towns at Nauset High, and nine more at Cape Tech.
“The Wellfleet Drive-In is happy to step up to the plate for the local seniors,” said Vincent. “We are ecstatic.”