Among the many disruptions to everyday life resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has been the closure of schools across the nation and the looming threat of cancellation of high school graduation ceremonies, potentially denying seniors a rite of passage Americans have taken for granted for generations. For 23 Texas high schools, at least, that prospect has been lifted thanks to Texas Motor Speedway, which will open up its facility to host commencement ceremonies in a partnership with Denton County school superintendents, ensuring all graduates have the opportunity to receive their diplomas in a safe but significant fashion.
During the ceremonies, specific dates and times for which will be announced in the coming days, graduates will accept their diploma in-person in TMS’ Victory Lane.
“We were glad to be able to provide some ideas to our area superintendents on how in-person graduation ceremonies can continue,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads. “We know this is an important rite of passage for our Denton County seniors and their families.”
The large venue allows for the schools to host their ceremonies on, or near, their original dates in mid to late May while complying with recommended social distancing practices. Parents and family members who attend will be asked to remain in their vehicles to watch the ceremony live while parked in the TMS infield. Family members who are in high risk categories for contracting COVID-19, or who are currently quarantined, are asked to remain at home and watch via live stream.
“A great deal of thanks and appreciation for this program must go to Judge Andy Eads and his staff for their significant efforts in making this idea come to fruition in what was really a very short amount of time,” said Eddie Gossage, President and General Manager of Texas Motor Speedway. “A high school graduation ceremony is such an important achievement and lifelong memory for students as well as their families and friends. We are honored by the opportunity to support each and every Denton County high school graduate as best we can in these difficult times.”
TMS will project the commencement ceremony on “Big Hoss,” the world’s largest HDTV, to ensure that every graduate is seen by those in attendance, both in person and virtually. Graduates, wearing academic regalia in addition to masks, will walk across a staging area to receive their diplomas.
The diploma presentation will be “hands-free” and respect the social distancing guidelines outlined by Denton County Health Services.
Texas Motor Speedway and Speedway Children’s Charities Texas Branch also are again partnering with the American Red Cross North Texas Region for a blood drive by appointment only to be held May 6 at the Lone Star Condominium Clubhouse. The blood drive is scheduled for 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. CT.
The Lone Star Condominium Clubhouse is located at 3565 Lone Star Circle, Fort Worth, Texas 76177, just outside Turn 2 of the speedway property. Click here to register.