By Richard Meek

The Catholic Commentator

Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School is planning a celebratory drive-in ceremony for its inaugural graduating class.

The event is scheduled May 23 at 1 p.m. at the school, where a stage will be set up across from the school’s office. Each graduate will be allowed to have one car with their family, and they will be directed to a parking spot in front of the stage.

Graduates will be able to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas from principal Claire Willis and president Eric Engemann, while being cheered on and celebrated by their classmates.

At that point, family members will be allowed to get out of the car and take pictures of their graduate while they walk across the stage.

“Our students really wanted to have some sort of graduation with family and friends and due to the virus we thought this would be the best way,” Cristo Rey mission advancement assistant Katie Tasman said. “We will be able to maintain social distance, and all of our faculty and staff who are present that day will be required to wear masks.” 

“It is going to be fun, simple and celebratory,” she added. “We are so proud of our students, this is such a huge accomplishment.”

Cristo Rey is reaching out to community partners, friends and supporters to fill the area around the parking lot. Once the graduation ceremony has concluded, Tasman said the hope is that the seniors, in their cars, will file out to a street full of supporters, also in their cars, offering congratulations by the honking of car horns and cheering.

Cristo Rey opened in August 2016 at the former Redemptorist High School, but two weeks later the school flooded, forcing classes to be held for nearly 18 months at the Bon Carre Technology Center in Baton Rouge. Classes are currently being held in t-buildings at the former Redemptorist site, where all of the old buildings have come down.