Local grads celebrate commencements at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Hard Rock Stadium

HOMESTEAD, FLA. (WSVN) - Two sporty celebrations in South Florida gave local graduates a chance to celebrate their major milestone in unique ways while still being able to practice social distancing.

7News cameras captured a once-in-a-lifetime victory lap at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday.

Members of Christopher Columbus High School’s Class of 2020 said they’re grateful to be a part of this atypical graduation ceremony.

“I was afraid that that wasn’t going to happen,” said graduating senior Michael Berry.

But the school’s faculty and staff were able to send off their 2020 class in style and with social distancing.

The ceremony was held outdoors at the iconic racetrack thanks to school alumnus Al Garcia, the president of the speedway.

Grads were even able to drive away with their diploma from the renowned NASCAR track.

“It’s really cool. Like, me and my dad and my brother had been here before to watch the NASCAR races,” said Berry, “and just being here on the track itself, not just on the stage but being able to drive around, that is something unique, and I think I won’t forget this.”

Another ceremony save took place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, where the Miami Dolphins hosted a drive-thru commencement for some South Florida grads.

Organizers said the event was made possible by the community coming together.

“We want to send them off to the rest of their lives with the right feeling, that they have a community that’s behind them,” said Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III, “so we’re going to find ways to do that independent of a global pandemic.

For Berry and the rest of those who participated in these events, this may not have been the way they originally envisioned picking up their diplomas, but it’s nevertheless a graduation for the books.

“I’m very thankful to the massive amount of support that we have from our faculty, staff, administration and our alumni network that we were able to make this thing possible,” said Berry.

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