HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s a very different graduation season. Instead of big gatherings and commencement ceremonies, there are virtual parties and drive-thru diploma pickups.
A Hawaii nonprofit is now also organizing a new way to recognize grads: With a honk and a wave.
Campbell High School, the largest in the state with more than 700 seniors, will watch their official graduation ceremony from their homes Friday. At first, it was a difficult reality to accept.
"We couldn't believe that we wouldn't be able to physically graduate with each other," said Campbell High School senior Jewel Garcia.
But after getting lots of virtual hugs from teachers, family and friends, some are now tooting their own horns after switching gears and knowing that the Class of 2020 has demonstrated their resilience.
"It's kind of like interesting bragging rights," said Garcia.
"We were able to come through something like this, imagine what we can do later on," she added.
That’s music to John Clark’s ears.
He’s the executive director of Teen Building USA, a non-profit aimed at increasing high school graduation rates.
His nonprofit is organizing a series of "honk and wave” events where graduates line up safely apart on the sidewalk as decorated cars drive by and sound off.
Campbell High’s “honk and wave” will be on Fort Weaver Road on Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. Kapolei High School’s event will be on May 24 on Kapolei Parkway from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
“I would consider the class of 2020 the most adaptable generation,” said Clark. “We are trying to emulate the public admiration for graduates,” he said.
Garcia is going to college on the mainland to study molecular biology while Lorenzo is going into the Air Force so this weekend won’t be traditional, but memorable.
"I'm happy to see that the community shows its appreciation for the all the graduates," he said.
To sign up for the events, see the maps or have your school participate, you can go to www.TeenBuildingUSA.org.