|These are the four student small group leaders I had the privilege of mentoring this school year. They were such a blessing to me! Three of them were graduating seniors, but two of them will be doing the FOCUS apprenticeship this next year!|
Parking Lot Graduation Ceremony
We made it through the COVID school year! It was strange debriefing the year, hoping we'd never have to do most of these events again!
But one event that came out of the pandemic that we absolutely want to keep is our Parking Lot Graduation at UTD. In 2020, it was a last-minute idea from Peter Ueng, tacked on to a worship night in a Walmart parking lot for our students whose commencement ceremony had been canceled. But it was a big success, and for 2021 we planned ahead and did it right. After one of our last Friday nights, we lined both sides of a parking lot lane with fellow students, friends, and family, played "Pomp & Circumstance" over a speaker, and announced each FOCUS graduate's name and degree. They got to walk the whole way being cheered for by everyone, and then we celebrated with cake and punch. Students and parents both loved it. They got to skip the boring speeches, skip the hundreds of names of people they don't know, wear whatever they wanted, celebrate with their whole community, and they could invite as many people as they want (UTD only gives each graduate 5 tickets). I've already had multiple students tell me they are planning to do our parking lot graduation instead of commencement when they get their degree.
|Our 2021 UTD Graduates! (At least the ones who could come in person, but note the phone with the one virtual attendee in the bottom left!)|