“It takes a team to turn it on, much less operate it,” Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. “It’s the world’s biggest TV.”
A drive-in graduation at the Texas Motor Speedway, in which district families will park their vehicles on the infield, provides the best overall option for the district in order to meet health guidelines and not interrupt families’ travel arrangements, Lewisville ISD Superintendent Kevin Rogers said in a May 1 announcement by the district.
Students will be separated from families and taken to pit road, where they will be seated according to social distancing requirements, Gossage said. The motor speedway infield has a footprint equal to four AT&T Stadiums and provides ample space, he said.
“Parents, family and friends will stay in their cars like a drive-in theater crowd and listen to audio on the car radio,” Gossage said.
While relatives will not be able to directly see the area where ceremonies take place, they will be able to watch the action on the big screen, Gossage said. Photographers will also be in place to capture students as they cross the Winners Circle to receive their diploma, he said.
"I know this is yet another change for our students and families to adjust to, but we are thrilled about this opportunity and extremely grateful to Texas Motor Speedway and leaders in Denton County for working together to make this a reality," Rogers said. "Although the number of attendees will be limited and a parking pass will be required to enter the venue, I believe this is the best possible option for graduations. It was made clear to us that our alternate graduation plans may be cancelled or only allowed to proceed with little or no audience present, depending on health guidelines. We decided not to take the risk, and to go with the sure option."
Hebron High School, Flower Mound High School and Marcus High School will hold their graduation ceremonies May 23 at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. The ceremonies for Lewisville High School and The Colony High School will be hosted May 24 at noon and 5 p.m., respectively.
According to Gossage, with assistance from Denton County Judge Andy Eads, the speedway has agreed to host graduation ceremonies for almost a dozen districts in the area, including Northwest ISD, Denton ISD, Argyle ISD and Ponder ISD.
“In the last 24 hours, as word has gotten out about this, we’ve heard from 10 other schools in the metroplex,” Gossage said. “The important thing is giving the graduates a proper ceremony to celebrate their accomplishment.”