Salem Franklin Park 8th graders promoted in modified drive-through graduation

Salem Franklin Park 8th graders promoted in modified drive-through graduation

Brady Crane reaches out the window to grab his diploma during the Thursday night drive-through graduation at Franklin Park Middle School.  School Board President John Gaston set out the diploma for each graduate with assistance from Superintendent Dr. Leslie Foppe.    Photo by Bruce Kropp.

Franklin Park 8th graders had to grab their diplomas from a table as they passed by in a modified drive-through graduation that went off without a hitch.

Superintendent Dr. Leslie Foppe was pleased.

“Everyone pulled together.  The staff with the different aspects like the music, everyone helping get kids names to have diplomas ready, the excitement of the kids reaching out of the cars, pulling that diploma ready to be a Wildcat.  You could see the excitement of that.  I’m just so excited that we got to do this for them.  I’m excited for the kids, proud of the staff and this is a proud moment for a superintendent for sure.”

Teachers congratulate the 8th-grade graduates, complete with signs and even a bubble making machine, as they drive around Franklin Park School after receiving their diplomas. Photo by Bruce Kropp.


And things went so well, some of the teachers spaced out along the road after students received their diplomas were calling it the best graduation ever.

The first portion of the graduation was done virtually on Facebook Live and featured photos of all the students and comments from student speaker Olivia McCormack.

“Although our 8th-grade year was shortened, later we will realize that we are part of a historic event.  As well we can learn from quarantine and grow as students.  Already people have found a way to do things in a safer way.  Just like our graduation.  We will get through it together, as long as we are six feet apart that is.”

Franklin Park Principal Tyler Lux then recounted the graduates’ school history.

“That you will be resilient and your perseverance will carry you on throughout the rest of your lives due to this experience.  Some of you may have even found that you miss school, or part of it.  You have successfully completed this milestone of graduation 8th grade.  Let these accomplishments spark your desire for more and continue to set and achieve your goals.  Franklin Park class of 2020, I challenge you to continue growing and ask you to remember the phrase I use most days during announcements…do your best today Bobcats.”

The Franklin Park Bobcat was on hand to wave and give thumbs up to the graduates. Photo by Bruce Kropp.


Lux announced a number of special awards. They included those earning the Presidential Award for Academic Achievement for having a grade point average of 3.3 to 3.59 percent. The students were Julia Baker, Madison Camp, Bailey Decker, Marley Donoho, Rebecca Hays, Skyler McElroy, Miranda Podergois, Josh Powless, Bella Richardson, Molly Smith, Connor Tennyson, Alex Wilzbach and Dominick Winkler.

The Outstanding Scholar Award was presented to seven students with a perfect 4.0-grade point average during their 8th-grade year. They are Elly Back, Serenity Brubaker, Brady Crane, Ally Holmes, Taylor Ice, Olivia McCormack, and Alyssa Paul.

The Illinois Principal Association award for outstanding scholarship and character was Sydney Hunziker.

Beta Club Student of the Year Awards were presented to Jillian Green and Jairen Stroud.

The Don Armstrong Student Council Award and the fourth annual Jim Burnes Leadership Award were both presented to Ivy Donoho.

The David Conklin Outstanding Character Award was presented to Avery Robinson. The annual American Legion Post 128 awards for patriotism, citizenship, integrity, and honesty were Olivia McCormack and Gavin Zimmerman.

In order to allow graduates to hear the ceremony while waiting in their vehicles to get their diploma, WJBD-FM broadcast the ceremony live.


The long line of cars awaits the start of the drive-through presentation of photos at Franklin Park Middle School on Thursday night. Photo by Bruce Kropp.


View the entire Virtual Graduation by clicking here.

Congratulations to all of the 2020 graduates of Franklin Park Middle School in Salem!