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Bahrain school holds graduation on F1 circuit

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Manama, Bahrain

As coronavirus bans wreak havoc on school-leaving events, one Bahrain school has honored its seniors with a “drive-through” graduation ceremony complete with fireworks at the kingdom’s Formula One circuit.

In rows of well-spaced vehicles, students and their families lined up Wednesday evening in front of the main podium of Bahrain International Circuit, where Grand Prix races are held.

This year’s race was postponed as the pandemic threw the racing calendar into chaos, but the venue was repurposed to bid farewell to the Bahrain Bayan School graduates.

One by one the 82 seniors, dressed in traditional gowns and caps with the new addition of face masks, left their car to receive their degrees, to the backing of shouts of encouragement from their relatives.

Before reaching the podium, they passed through a sterilization gate and waited in socially distanced marked bays before greeting the school principal — from a two meter distance — and briefly taking off their masks for a photo.

Families still in the cars waved the Gulf kingdom’s national flag and held placards congratulating their offspring, before fireworks lit up the sky in a finale.

Bahrain, with a population of some 1.5 million, half of them expats, has reported 16,200 coronavirus cases including 32 deaths.

The kingdom closed schools and universities as part of a nationwide shutdown to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

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