Round Lake High School graduates dressed in their caps and gowns received diplomas in a festive, carnival-like atmosphere during a drive-through parade at the school on Saturday.
Dubbed the "Panther Parade: Carmencement 2020," around 520 graduates picked up their diplomas while seated in cars, many of which were decorated with balloons and signs, with their families.
The annual commencement ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The whole purpose behind this was just to give our kids a memorable experience," said Superintendent Donn Mendoza of Round Lake Area Community Unit School District 116. "In some ways the parents get to live it with their kids, because they are right next to them there in their cars."
A long line of cars wound its way from the area where diplomas were being distributed, around the back of the school and into the adjacent neighborhood. Professional entertainers such as clowns, jugglers, stilt-walkers and a mariachi band provided entertainment along the way.
Graduate Virgilio Jesus Perez said he missed not having a regular graduation, but he did like Saturday's event.
"It's pretty fun, actually. It's different," Perez said. "It's not like the other classes."