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Storms threaten graduation ceremonies at Texas Motor Speedway

Thousands of D-FW high school students are getting a second chance to walk the stage at the Texas Motor Speedway, but the threat of storms hangs overhead.

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Texas Motor Speedway is scheduled to host 23 graduation ceremonies in the next eight days, a span in which storms could strike at any time.

“We’re keeping an eye on the weather for sure,” said David Hart, Texas Motor Speedway spokesperson.“In the end, it’s all about keeping these kids safe.”

The ceremonies leading up to Friday afternoon all went on as scheduled, and organizers are keeping their fingers crossed for the rest.

“We’re going to continue until it looks like we can’t make it happen,” Hart said. “What we’ll do is if need be we can reschedule, but we’ll leave that up to the schools.”

The hope is that won’t happen to the graduating seniors who have been through so much already.

Student speakers at Friday’s ceremonies described the challenges of COVID-19, like the cancellation of sports seasons, proms and, for friends in other cities and states, commencement ceremonies that were canceled altogether.

Social distancing requirements at the Texas Motor Speedway forced friends and parents to watch the ceremony from the opposite side of the track as the graduating students.

Organizers showed the ceremony on the large screen, known in the racing community as "Big Hoss." 

As the students took the stage and accepted their diplomas Friday, friends and relatives cheered and honked their horns. It was a celebration from a distance, but a welcome one, given the circumstances. 

“It’s really cool to see the kids who have lived through a very crazy, unusual, unreal year to be able to come out here, and I’m sure for a lot of them, to get to do something that they didn’t think they were going to get to do,” Hart said.  “It’s great to see them happy, to see them enjoying it.”

The Texas Motor Speedway was scheduled to host 32 graduations in 13 days, helping celebrate more than 1,400 students, Hart said.

Click here for a schedule of graduation ceremonies at the Texas Motor Speedway.

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