Hayward's Moreau High School honors seniors with socially distanced, drive-thru graduation ceremony

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- An East Bay high school is celebrating its graduating seniors today with a socially distant graduation ceremony.

Moreau High School seniors in Hayward are driving onto campus and receiving a goody bag while their teachers and administrators cheer them on. They are not getting out of the car.

Organizers gave each senior a time to arrive and spaced them out to follow social distance rules.

Seniors said it was a bittersweet experience.

"This was even better than what I was expecting. It blew me away and made me feel really loved. I just love them so much," said Lindsay Betchart, as she looked back at the cheering teachers from the passenger side of the car.

But she said it also made her a bit blue.

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"This made me even more sad. Like I thought that I was doing fine and now I am really missing it," she said.

Narayah Aloo wiped away tears as her mom drove her through the assembly line of teachers and administrators.

"I'm really sad I don't get to finish with my class and my teachers and everyone," she said.

The seniors are getting gift bags with any awards they won along with some gifts like a coffee mug with all of their names on it and a key chain. They get a sign for their yard and their cap and gown. One senior told us she absolutely plans to wear it and take pictures.

"I'm going to go like this - whoop - with my cap so I can feel like I did it. And I will have my diploma. I think we get them in May? And I will have my mom hand me my diploma while I walk my stage and make my little graduation," Betchart said.

Administrators said it was hard to watch the senior's high school experience end in this way.

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"Not being able to hug them on one of their biggest days ever is really depressing. I'm happy to at least share this moment, that we were able to do something and celebrate with them," said Associate Dean Toni West.

Drive through ceremonies are being planned all over the Bay Area, except in Santa Clara County, where health officials have said they are not allowed under the shelter in place order. Organizers in Hayward said they took every precaution.

"We really tried to make everything as safe as possible. The bags were packed with masks and gloves on and everyone at a social distance. We are really trying to stay safe," said parent Elizabeth Zepeda.

Organizers expect it to take eight hours to get through all 197 seniors. But the principal of Moreau said the faculty was so enthusiastic about the idea, they had to turn volunteers away because of crowding concerns while social distancing is expected.

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