Glenn and Joan Hamilton positioned their lawn chairs in the temporary shade of a sapling and enjoyed a takeout BBQ lunch as they waited for a review of Bob Jones Academy graduates.
Soon, after students were presented their diplomas by family members outside the school’s main entrance, they returned to decorated vehicles to begin a procession through a section of the BJU campus.
A drive-thru BJA graduation ceremony was unlike any the Hamiltons have attended, though the coronavirus pandemic that necessitated the modified commencement exercises did not diminish the accomplishments of the 101 graduates.
“We do what we have to do,” said Joan Hamilton, who had a sign at the ready to congratulate granddaughter Caroline Grace Hamilton. “We’re proud of our granddaughter — and all the graduates for persevering through some unique challenges.”
Secondary principal Larry Hunt said that at BJA “you have to demonstrate flexibility and a resolve,” and the Class of 2020 “has demonstrated that probably more than any class in recent history.”
“We, as your administration and faculty, counted it a privilege to come alongside you this year and experience a vibrant spirit of contentment and genuine happiness that I believe was contagious throughout our student body,” Hunt added. “(During online instruction since March) Any interaction with seniors I have had in person or virtually has been encouraging and inspiring. We truly thank God for your testimony and love for Jesus Christ, and we have thoroughly enjoyed our fellowship with you.”
Taylor Moreno was recognized as class valedictorian and Catherine Burris is the class salutatorian.
BJU President Steve Pettit presented a charge via webcast to the graduates, many of whom will transition to make up the University’s Class of 2024.