by Alex Lloyd Gross
It It pays to have a state of the art casino in your town. PARX is in Bensalem. Parx is also closed due to the coronavirus. A large graduating class of Bensalem High School students have friends and family that want to see them graduate. Sitting in the football stadium is out of the question due to the virus.. Sitting in a vehicle with family and friends is a plausible alternative. So June 12 2020, PARX lent the parking lots to the school district and jumbotrons were set up. Sort of like a drive in movie.
Graduates and their friends and families could come and watch the ceremony on any number of large screens set up in the paring lot. Parking was free and it was divided. Graduates and their families had one area, friends had another. Vehicles lined up. School district personnel escorted the students from each vehicle to the front of the stage. The students would stand six feet apart. They would then give their name to someone, pick up a diploma holder, walk across the stage and have their photo taken, Each student was kept on stage for a few extra seconds, so family and friends could snap photos of their loved on on the screen. The actual diploma would be mailed to the students.
Applause was difficult to hear, but not car horns. During the Graduate Speeches, given by Salutatorian Julia Ting ans Valedictorian Julia Medyuhk, those car horns were plentiful The ceremony lasted about an hour. Prior to the ceremony, the class of 2020 spent their last few minutes as high school students texting one another and visiting their friends in their cars.
With the coronavirus, this was a welcome respite for students. Other school students were not as lucky. Many graduations were virtual, done online and that does not give those students the opportunity to walk at commencement exercises. Courtesy of PARX, that happened for the Bensalem High Class of 2020.
In In Politicians were there as well. State Rep KC Tomlinson, is attending her first high school graduation as an elected official. Her father, Senator Robert Tomlinson was also present. His district office is in the Bucks County Visitors Center,, on the grounds of the casino.