Drive-through graduation ceremonies are the rite of passage in the coronavirus era

Graduates from Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach on June 11.
Mira Costa High School graduates celebrate on the beach next to the Manhattan Beach Pier after their drive-through commencement ceremony on June 11.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Graduation is not quite the same this year.

At high school and college processions, the annual rite is now done by car in the time of the coronavirus.

COVID versions of commencements were on display recently from Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach to San Gabriel Valley’s Rowland High to charter schools and historic Fairfax High.

Parents are foregoing the scramble for tickets and fighting long lines, and instead they are celebrating with drive-through graduations and distanced gift-giving. Diplomas are handed out from a safe distance, handshakes are gone, air hugs are the norm, and graduation parties are put on hold as the Class of 2020 celebrates in new and various ways.

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Mira Costa High School

Mira Costa High
Mira Costa High grads celebrate with family and friends along the Strand in Manhattan Beach.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Mira Costa High
The Strand celebration continues for Mira Costa High’s Class of 2020.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Mira Costa High
The Mira Costa High commencement procession moves along the Strand in Manhattan Beach.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
MANHATTAN BEACH
Mira Costa High graduates Sophia Strauss, left, and Sarah Hoffmeister, both 17, celebrate on the beach.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Rowland High School

Rowland High School
Rowland High graduate Kloei Amper, 18, puts on her mask before receiving her diploma in a drive-through ceremony in Rowland Heights.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
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Rowland High School
From left, Rowland High grad Nastasya Billesbach, 18, celebrates with grandmother Mimi Yang, aunt Wendy Wu and mother Stacy Wu after receiving her diploma in a drive-through ceremony.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Rowland High School
Michael Flores, 18, walks alongside his family’s car at the drive-through commencement.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Fairfax High School

Fairfax High School
Fairfax High grad Calixte Beohourou, 18, at a drive-through ceremony.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Fairfax High School
Fairfax High grad Jordan Reed, 18, gets a congratulatory fist bump.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Fairfax High School
Jaimy Lujan, 18, holds her diploma and a bouquet of roses after the commencement.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Fairfax High School
Addam Saavedra, 19, left, and Jordan Reed, 18, pose for a graduation photo.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Chaffey College

Chaffey College
Melissa Gomes helps Chaffey College grad Sarah Anggraini prepare for a photo in Rancho Cucamonga.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Chaffey College
Jessica Reyes during Chaffey College’s drive-through commencement.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
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Chaffey College
Sarah Anggraini tosses her graduation cap at the Chaffey College ceremony.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Chaffey College
Grads James Jarvoe, in passenger’s seat, and Emily Van Riel receive their “grad bags” from faculty member Myra Andrade at the Chaffey College commencement.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Riverside Poly High School

Riverside Poly High School
Emily Rose McCorkle cheers for a fellow graduate during the ceremony at Poly High School in Riverside.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Riverside Poly High School
Ethan Kyle McDonald celebrates in the Poly High School parking lot in Riverside.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Riverside Poly High School
Poly High grad Jacob McBride’s godmother, Rosann Rozzi, and father, Chris McBride, ride along during the drive-through ceremony.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Compton Early College High School

Compton Early College High School
Compton Early College High School teacher Kimberly Ponce puts Janiya Gray’s cap in place before a drive-through commencement held at Compton Community College.
(Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)
Compton Early College High School
A balloon-carrying family member waits in line during the Compton Early College High School graduation ceremony.

(Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)
Compton Early College High School
Evelyn Favela chooses a lei at her graduation ceremony.

(Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)
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New West Charter School

New West Charter School
New West Charter School grad Kate Zamos receives her diploma from Vice Principal Mark Herrera at a drive-through commencement in Los Angeles.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
New West Charter School
Vice Principal Mark Herrera exults as graduate Joe Reid, 17, arrives in his vehicle.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
New West Charter School
Naomi Shacham receives her diploma from Principal Sharon Weir.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Venice High School

Venice High School
Venice High graduate Joseph Silva, 18, rides in his family’s Cadillac for his drive-through commencement.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Venice High School
Venice High graduate Hiromi Maeda, 18, sends an air hug to a teacher during her commencement.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Venice High School
Venice High School graduate Nathan Reyes, 18, waves to faculty during the ceremony.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Venice High School
Ana Martinez, 17, prepares for a photo at her graduation ceremony.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Venice High School
Venice High Principal Gabriel Griego greets a student during the commencement ceremony.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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