On May 24, Joy Fellowship Ministries held a “drive-in” outdoor graduation ceremony on the church grounds.
CRESTVIEW — Joy Fellowship Ministries recently held a “drive-in” graduation for 10 of the seniors from the Joy Fellowship Senior High Youth Group that recently graduated from high school.
“All of the seniors were asking me what I could do for graduation because every year at Joy we have a graduation Sunday to celebrate all of our seniors,” said Joe Butryn, Joy Fellowship Senior High Youth Pastor. “And because of the pandemic, we were not sure if they were going to have any kind of graduation ceremony at all.
“I told them that as long as there was breath in my lungs, we would do something to honor them, but I had no idea what it would look like because of the pandemic and social distancing,” he added.
On May 24, Joy Fellowship Ministries held a “drive-in” outdoor graduation ceremony on the church grounds. The grads were assigned personal parking spots, were recognized and given the opportunity give a graduation speech, he said.
“While each graduate was called up to the podium, they exited their vehicles, dressed in their cap and gowns. When their name was called, ’Pomp and Circumstance’ was played,” Butryn said. “I wanted to make this something that they would never forget and make it special for them because their senior year was taken away from them. It’s like they were running a marathon and all of the sudden at the 26 mile marker, they were told to stop running the race. Today, they finished the .2 miles of their marathon.
“The church parking lot was packed with people holding signs, balloons, and posters with words of encouragement,” he added. “I teared up so many times because I’m so proud of these graduates. They graduated in a pandemic, but they never lost hope! They are warriors and they are going to go out and change the world.”
Each graduate got to “meet” their Silent Prayer Partner during the ceremony. A Silent Prayer Partner is a person or couple who have been praying for their graduate throughout the year and sending them gifts and/or words of encouragement.
“This is one of the highlights of the senior graduation because the graduates wanted to know and meet they people who have been praying for them,” Butryn said.
The pastor thanks the deacons, led by Letavious Wilks, for setting-up, cleaning-up, and ensuring social distancing throughout the ceremony.
“We couldn’t have done this without the deacons and their commitment to ensuring a successful graduation for our graduates,” he said.
Social distancing was done according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.