It’s Official: LVHS Seniors Getting ‘Drive-Up’ Commencement

Lucerne Valley High School and school district officials have been working diligently behind the scenes to come up with a special way for the Class of 2020 to experience their graduation from high school. The result: a ‘drive-up’ commencement ceremony on Friday, May 29 at the school’s Ron Peavy Football Field. The event will start at 8:30 a.m.
“We’re excited beyond belief to have somewhat of a traditional graduation via a drive-up style,” said Nate Lambdin, a co-principal and assistant superintendent. “I can assure you it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Throughout the graduation event, the school will be following social distancing requirements and restrictions provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and San Bernardino County Health Department due to the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
The ceremony will take place at the school’s Ron Peavy Football Field. Graduates will drive up in their vehicle with up to four guests. As they arrive they will be guided in by faculty and staff to a designated parking area exclusively for graduate families. They will be physically and socially distanced from other graduate family members, Mr. Lambdin said.
“Our graduation plan has the safety of our staff, students and their families as the number one priority while also providing an opportunity to honor each Senior and give their moment to shine, according to Mr. Lambdin, who also serves as the school district’s Assistant Superintendent.
Additionally, “The students will be seated with physical and social distancing protocols in place,” and “each family will have their own designated area.”
“Although some of the traditions of a commencement ceremony might be lost, I can assure you that our itinerary includes graduation speeches by our valedictorian and salutatorian, and our guest speaker,” Mr. Lambdin said.
Also, upon entering the ceremony, the graduates will be in a traditional graduation procession as “Pomp and Circumstance” plays. While they receive their diplomas, a video of each graduate will play on a big screen. And, Lambdin added, “We have a couple surprises in store for you.”
Photographers will be taking photographs, which will made available after the event, and the ceremony will be live-streamed via Facebook Live, he said.
“It’s going to be a tremendous morning with our honored graduates,” he said.
The LVHS Class of 2020 Valedictorian is Akira Ogawa (4.15 grade point average). Salutatorian is  Krystian Otwell who earned a 4.13 GPA and became the school’s all-time basketball scoring leader earlier this year. The two will among the event’s special speakers.
The effort to create this once-in-a-lifetime event for the graduates is not lost on the graduating seniors. “Our students are excited,” according to Lambdin. “They’re elated it’s not a virtual graduation.”
Senior Katelyn Miller, who for the past school year has served as the Lucerne Valley FFA Chapter president, is grateful that the administrators have worked hard to give a “real” graduation ceremony.
“I’m personally thankful because back in March and April when things were up in the air it felt as though our senior year and education would simply end with a piece of paper mailed to us,” Katelyn said.
She admits the last few months have been extremely challenging for her and other students.
“One thing that hit the hardest was when I realized that my last day of high school was March 13th. I had experienced every one of my “lasts,” and I didn’t even know — from walking into school in the morning, greeting my teachers and peers — that I wouldn’t have what people refer to as the “Senior experience.”
Always one to see a silver lining, Katelyn recognizes that still there is a lot to be grateful for.
“I’ve realized that even when it feels like things are falling apart and that life will never go back to the ‘old’ normal, we still have so many people that want to see the Class of 2020 succeed. They care and want the most for us; and those people are our teachers, administrators, families and our community!”
To view a video message by Principal Lambdin on the graduation ceremony plans, visit
Photo screenshot of Principal Nate Lambdin discussing the high school’s graduation ceremony on May 29.