Has drive-thru graduation become a good result of a bad pandemic? | MCTC


Has drive-thru graduation become a good result of a bad pandemic?

June 1, 2021
A commentary by Keith Kappes


Four successful commencement ceremonies in two days and no one had to dress up, listen to a less-than-exciting speech or miss the opportunity to share the inspiring college graduation experience with families and friends.

And anyone could take a photo without being shamed for violating academic protocol.

That’s how Maysville Community and Technical College ended its spring semester and the on-again, off-again, stop-and-start 2020-21 academic year.

Could this departure from ancient tradition become part of the “new normal” we are expecting when federal and state authorities finally give us the “all clear” signal on the coronavirus?

Sadly, that killer disease we never heard of before last year continues to ravage much of the under-vaccinated countries of the world, even as infection rates drop dramatically in the U. S.

After enduring nearly 100 college graduations as a spectator and platform guest and speaking at a few high school ceremonies myself, I realized the genius of focusing totally on the new graduates while throwing in a few creature comforts for Mom and Dad, other relatives, friends and the faculty and staff.

Yes, in my view, drive-thru graduation is a perfect example of adversity becoming the proud mother of invention.

The CDC, Dr. Fauci, and other rule-makers wisely made us socially distance ourselves and wear those surgical masks, cleverly re-described as face coverings when masking became a political issue.

But those days could soon be over and our nation we will be getting back to “normal”, whatever than means. Since we’ve already learned how to drive-thru for fast food, groceries, virus tests, vaccinations, packages, and many other necessities of life, why not keep it that way for graduation ceremonies?

I remember helping a weak, partially-disabled grandfather, a retired farmer, climb stairs to attend a high school graduation ceremony. He was wearing a suit borrowed from a friend because he didn’t want to embarrass his family, especially his soon-to-be graduated grand-daughter.

As I watched the video streams of the four MCTC graduations, I smiled as I imagined the greater joy of that old fellow if he had been allowed to attend her graduation without getting out of his pickup truck in his bib overalls and straw hat. 

(Keith Kappes is MCTC’s community relations liaison. Contact him at keith.kappes@kctcs.edu)