As graduation ceremonies across the country have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, two speedways have stepped up to the plate to provide a safe space for students to cross the finish line of their high school careers.
To avoid the cancellation of a special event in a student’s life while still practicing social distancing, Daytona International Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway will both host high school commencement ceremonies on their respective facilities for their local area school districts.
Daytona will host ceremonies for two high schools in the Flagler County (Florida) School District on May 31. While students and their families will be restricted from exiting their vehicles during the occasion, diplomas will be handed to the students as they take a victory lap around the 2-and-a-half-mile speedway when they cross Daytona’s iconic finish line.
“We had a committee made up of students, school administrators, district staff, and a member of the School Board,” Flagler County Superintendent James Tager said. “All of the members on this committee were determined to find a way for our graduates to have their ceremony as close to the original May 28th date as possible. Without the wonderful team at Daytona International Speedway, we probably would not have been able to do that.”
Texas will welcome 23 high schools from the surrounding school districts at their facility on various dates throughout the months of May and June. While families will also be restricted to their vehicles, students will get to walk in their graduation across a stage in TMS’s victory lane.
The hands-free presentation of diplomas will be broadcast for those in their vehicles to see on TMS’s iconic big screen Big Hoss, the world’s largest HDTV.
“A high school graduation ceremony is such an important achievement and lifelong memory for students as well as their families and friends,” Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway, said. “We are honored by the opportunity to support each and every Denton County high school graduate as best we can in these difficult times.”
The Denton County Class of 2020 will join an illustrious list of motorsports figures who have also graduated at the Texas facilities. NASCAR drivers Erik Jones, Noah Gragson, Tyler Ankrum and Todd Gilliland received their diplomas at TMS during race weekends in years past.