Schnuck Markets is teaming with more than a dozen St. Louis-area companies to make a memorable graduation happen for eight area high schools who wanted to bring their graduating seniors a real commencement ceremony. The graduations will take place at POWERplex STL, a multi-use amateur sports complex currently under development in Hazelwood, Mo.
The ceremonies are scheduled to be held May 29 through June 10, and will meet COVID-19 social distancing restrictions by keeping audiences in their vehicles, watching on large screens while listening to HD-quality sound on their radios.
The plan is for the "largest drive-in graduation ceremony ever held in America," complete with two video trucks, livestreaming, Jumbotrons and food trucks that will deliver curbside to spectators in their cars.
“Just as we are adapting in our stores, these unprecedented times require innovative solutions in all walks of life,” said Dave Peacock, president and COO at Schnucks, the event’s platinum sponsor. “As the parent of a high school senior, I’ve personally seen the many memories that these seniors have missed out on because of COVID-19. When we heard about this initiative, we knew immediately that Schnucks wanted to be involved to help give these students a graduation they would always remember.”
Other sponsors include US Bank, which will bring the graduations to life on two giant 30-foot screens, as well as several St. Louis-based live event companies.
“Our goal is to serve young people in this community and give parents a quality experience at the same time,” said Dan Buck, Managing Partner of Big Sports Properties, whose team is organizing the event. “We are working closely with the St. Louis County Public Health Department to make certain everything is done safely and everyone is socially distanced.”
He added, “We have all the necessary ingredients for a massive drive-in graduation. Huge parking lots, plenty of interior and exterior space to meet the social distancing requirements for the graduates and faculty, while the audience can stay in the safe confines of their cars watching everything on giant Jumbotrons and listening on their car radios."
Each ceremony also will be broadcast over a livestream feed so people at home or those with medical complications can see their loved ones cross the stage to receive their diploma.
Schools included in the event are Ferguson-Florissant, Marquette, Lafayette, Rockwood Summit, Eureka, North County Christian, the St. Charles Christian Home Educators and McCluer/McCluer North High Schools.
Schnucks operates 112 stores, serving customers in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa, and employs 13,500 teammates.
The retailer has stepped up to support the community during the coronavirus pandemic. Schnucks and the United Way recently announced that Schnucks customers and the company are donating $250,000 to the nonprofit through the company’s “Round Up at the Register” campaign. Of the funds raised, customers donated $225,400 from April 3 through April 20, by rounding up the cost of their Schnucks purchases to the nearest dollar. Schnucks is donating an additional $24,600 to the nonprofit, with 100% of the donations going directly to the United Way in each store’s local area, as the nonprofit works to support those experiencing hardships as a result of COVID-19. Schnucks’ donation is in addition to the $605,000 the company donated in March to support COVID-19 relief in the five states in which Schnucks operates.
“We are incredibly grateful for our customers’ generosity,” said Schnucks chairman and CEO Todd Schnuck. “Just like our company and our teammates are dedicated to nourishing people’s lives, our customers have shown that in these uncertain times, their commitment to helping their neighbors and communities is unwavering.”
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