Deering and Casco Bay high schools held their commencement exercises Thursday at the Ocean Gateway terminal in a drive-in ceremony, a format that was chosen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ocean Gateway, seen in April, was the venue for drive-in graduation ceremonies for all three of Portland’s high schools. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

During each ceremony, vehicles formed lines on a terminal parking lot while students and their friends and families sat inside their vehicles listening to speakers on their car radios. Students were summoned to an elevated stage at the front of the parking lot where they received their diplomas. Social distancing was observed and students were required to wear face masks.

Graduation ceremonies for those high schools, which were held separately, followed Wednesday evening’s Portland High School commencement, which was also held outside at the Ocean Gateway Terminal. Portland High School handed out diplomas to 181 seniors.

Deering High School celebrated its 146th commencement exercise on Thursday morning, while Casco Bay High School held its 12th commencement on Thursday evening. Deering High graduated 230 seniors, while Casco Bay recognized 88 seniors.

Deering High School describes itself as the most diverse high school north of Boston. Founded in 2005, Casco Bay is the city’s newest high school. It is part of the EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) network, and students participate in project-based learning expeditions.

Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana spoke at all three graduation ceremonies.


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