Cambridge chooses local drive-in theater as venue for graduation

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CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — School districts are having to get creative when it comes to holding high school graduation ceremonies while social distancing. Some are choosing an old American favorite — drive-in theaters!

The lineup of movies at the Hathaway’s Twin Drive-In Theater features “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Bumblebee.”

But on June 19, the main feature will be the Cambridge class of 2020.

“I wanted to give them something special that they could remember,” Caroline Goss said.

Goss isn’t just the Cambridge High School principal. She’s also an alum.

When the coronavirus pandemic closed schools and canceled commencement ceremonies, she knew she had to do something special while adhering to social distancing guidelines. A drive-in movie theater seemed perfect.

“I saw that down south they were using it for graduations, and we are fortunate to have one 10 minutes away in North Hoosick.”

The owner of Hathaway’s, Duane Greenawalt, jumped at the chance to help. And when Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently allowed drive-ins to reopen, a date was set.

Greenawalt said he is offering up his place free of charge.

“I am watching the news and everyone is doing something for somebody and I’ve done nothing so far. So I figured I needed to help out somehow, and this is my way.”

But how would it look anything like a real commencement? Goss said they are in the process of pre-recording every moment of the ceremony over several days.

“We are just waiting for caps and gowns to arrive. So we can do appointments where students are coming in with their parents and I can announce their names. So at the movie theater, people will be in their cars, and we will have people delivering diplomas and awards.”

With just 67 graduates, Goss does not expect social distancing to be too difficult to adhere to. She added that each student will be allotted two separate parking spots for their guests.

Anya: “What’s the reaction been from students and famlies?”
Goss: “Everybody is just grateful to have a venue and something where we can celebrate their accomplishments with their families.”


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