With area schools closed for the remainder of the academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Charlotte Motor Speedway is partnering with Cabarrus County Schools and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to give high school seniors a first-of-its-kind commencement for the state.
“High school graduation is a rite of passage for teenagers and their families,” said Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter. “These students have worked for years to get their diplomas, and they deserve to mark this milestone in a big way. We’re honored to engage our gigantic Speedway TV to help our neighbors create North Carolina’s first ever drive-in, drive-through graduation ceremony.”
Students from all 10 Cabarrus County high schools, representing more than 2,300 graduates in the 2020 senior class, will take part in individual ceremonies over a two-day period of June 12-13.
“We are grateful to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for making their facility available to some of our graduating seniors to give them the opportunity to have an unforgettable graduation this year,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson. “When we approached the speedway with this idea, they began work right away to make the speedway available and to plan an incredible graduation experience.”
“Cabarrus County Schools is excited that our Class of 2020 graduates will be able to celebrate their graduation at such a unique venue,” said Cabarrus County Schools Superintendent Dr. Chris Lowder. “We are grateful to Charlotte Motor Speedway for their hospitality and look forward to working with them to make this a memorable experience for our graduates and their families.
“We also extend our thanks to State Superintendent Mark Johnson and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for their efforts in bringing everyone together to develop a plan to honor our graduates.”
To comply with recommended social distancing practices, each graduate and his or her immediate family will be invited to enter the speedway infield and park in front of the 16,000-square-foot Speedway TV, where a commencement address will be broadcast drive-in movie style. Families and guests will be limited to one car per graduate and required to remain in the vehicle along with the student. Following the graduation message, cars will be directed onto the track for a commencement processional to the start/finish line, where each graduate will receive his or her diploma, live on Speedway TV. Graduates will remain in their cars and proceed on the legendary track through Turns 1 and 2 before exiting the speedway along the backstretch.
Only vehicles with a graduating senior will be allowed in the infield and spectators will not be allowed in the grandstands per guidelines from the Cabarrus Health Alliance to limit large gatherings.
The Cabarrus County Schools graduation schedule is as follows:
|Cabarrus-Kannapolis Early College High School||8:00 a.m. Friday, June 12, 2020|
|Performance Learning Center||8:45 a.m. Friday, June 12, 2020|
|Cabarrus Early College of Technology||10:00 a.m. Friday, June 12, 2020|
|Central Cabarrus High School||12:30 p.m. Friday, June 12, 2020|
|Cox Mill High School||4:00 p.m. Friday, June 12, 2020|
|Hickory Ridge High School||7:30 p.m. Friday, June 12, 2020|
|Jay M. Robinson High School||9:00 a.m. Saturday, June 13, 2020|
|Mount Pleasant High School||12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 13, 2020|
|Northwest Cabarrus High School||4:00 p.m. Saturday, June 13, 2020|
|Concord High School||7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 13, 2020|
Parents and students are advised to visit www.cabarrus.k12.nc.us/cabcograds20 for further graduation details.