Peaks Mill fifth graders

Personalized signs of the fifth grade graduates lined the drive up to Peaks Mill Elementary School on Tuesday evening. (Chanda Veno | State Journal)

Graduation night was bittersweet for 10-year-old Gene Allison. On one hand, the Peaks Mill fifth grader said a final goodbye to teachers and staff who have taught and supported him for the past five years. On the other hand, Gene is also looking forward to joining the band in middle school.

“I’m excited,” he said prior to the Patriots’ drive-through graduation ceremony Tuesday evening at the school, as he helped decorate the family’s minivan with Peaks Mill signs.

Gene Allison

Peaks Mill Elementary School fifth grade graduate Gene Allison, 10, stands next to his family's minivan prior to graduation at the school Tuesday evening. (Chanda Veno | State Journal)

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, plans for a normal ceremony were scrapped in favor of a drive-through graduation. However, staff did their best to keep many of the same traditions.

Peaks Mill grad

From left, Gala Catron, Sarah Paul and principal Cassie House wave to graduates after announcing their names at Peaks Mill Elementary School's fifth grade drive-through graduation Tuesday evening. (Chanda Veno | State Journal)

“Pomp and Circumstance” blasted from a speaker, diplomas were handed out and Principal Cassie House announced each graduate’s name as they entered the school’s bus circle. As the procession slowly continued around the circle, teachers congratulated and snapped photos of their students.

Students remained in their vehicles and safe social distancing was practiced. For many, like Gene, the ceremony provided closure to their elementary school chapters. He was eager to thank his favorite teacher, Annie Moore, who taught him in first grade.

Peaks Mill teachers

Peaks Mill fifth grade teachers, from left, Kelli Gould, Angie Beavin and Layne Allen smile while practicing social distancing at the drive-through graduation Tuesday evening. (Chanda Veno | State Journal)

“It’s not what I was expecting,” said Gene, who participated in archery and was on the PMES academic team. “But it’s been fun.”

And he has all summer to decide which instrument he will be playing in the Elkhorn Middle School band this fall.

Recommended for you

Load comments

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase an Enhanced Subscription to continue reading.Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase an Enhanced Subscription to continue reading.