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Moses Lake School District plans drive-by graduation for class of 2021

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | March 15, 2021 12:57 AM

MOSES LAKE — Even as the state is preparing to advance into Phase 3 — with larger public gatherings and restaurants and other venues at 50% capacity — the Moses Lake School District is planning a drive-by graduation ceremony for the class of 2021.

“This might be a disappointment to some, but we got lots of positive comments about last year,” said Superintendent Josh Meek, speaking at a meeting of the Moses Lake School Board that was both in person and live-streamed. “A crowded stadium with thousands of people is not realistic.”

Nor are 400-500 students gathered together on the field at Lions Park for a Saturday graduation, Meek added.

Meek said graduation will be June 11, with students expected to assemble at the Grant County Fairgrounds at 3 p.m. and the ceremony kicking off at 4 p.m.

However, the superintendent said the MLSD is still waiting for information from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction before finalizing the details of this year’s drive-by graduation.

Last year, the MLSD staged a drive-by graduation parade on June 5, where students started at the Grant County Fairgrounds, split into six convoys, and drove through town to different sites — such as the parking lot of the Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center — with their families to receive their diplomas.

Meek said a couple of things would likely be different this year. First, students could line up with their friends rather than alphabetically, and second, the MLSD doesn’t know if it will need all six graduation sites.

“Kids want to sign up with their friends,” he said.

Additionally, Meek said the State Board of Education has not approved any additional guidance for graduation waivers for the class of 2021, but he told the local board the state board was “planning on action” for the classes of 2022 and 2023, just in case.

“We’re looking at several years of emergency guidance,” he said.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.