Longhorn car horns

Michael Smith
About 30 vehicles were in the Lone Grove High School parking lot Monday to hear the  announcement of Students of the Year. With social distancing guidelines in place, schools are trying creative ways to still recognize award recipients.

While not the ceremony anybody expected at the beginning of the school year, Lone Grove students of the year were still able to be recognized during an event in the Lone Grove High School parking lot on Monday evening.

Seniors Paige Anderson and Ty Clemons were presented their awards in front of the high school by Principal Chris Sudderth. Nearly 30 vehicles were in the parking lot to attend the ceremony and filled the air with the sound of honking horns to celebrate the seniors.

“We just tried to be creative to find any way we could to recognize our kids,” Sudderth said. “Our seniors have kind of been thrown for a loop this year and all the things that we normally do and probably take for granted every year. We’re just trying to give them any sense of normalcy.”

Attendees left car windows down and listened to the announcement from the outdoor public address system. Anderson and Clemons each walked across the parking lot to receive their award and the entire ceremony lasted less than 10 minutes. Many lingered before and after as people waved and carried on brief conversations from their vehicles.

The parking lot ceremony has become an option to replace traditional awards ceremonies as social distancing continues in southern Oklahoma. The school last week held a similar event to highlight this year’s valedictorian and salutatorian while attendees remained in their vehicles.

“Any opportunity that arises for our principles, assistant principals, any of our teachers to recognize their kids, that’s what we want to do,” said Lone Grove Public Schools Superintendent Meri Jayne Miller.