Support local journalism by subscribing today! Click Here to see our current offers.

St. Helens High School (SHHS) graduation organizers are preparing for a drive-through ceremony similar to what was conducted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drive-Through Graduation

In 2020, St. Helens High School seniors were driven to the steps of the Columbia County Court House. As their name was called, each walked up the steps to receive their diploma and back down the steps to have their photo taken. The 2021 SHHS graduation will be patterned after that event.

The 2021 SHHS graduation is set for noon Friday, June 11, at the Columbia County Courthouse Square in St. Helens.

Week-long events

The graduation organizers are encouraging graduates and their families to decorate their home’s front doors and their cars to honor and showcase the seniors time and activities at SHHS. A senior class and community cruise added to the ceremonies in 2020 is again scheduled for the 2021 graduation.

"Decorate your cars, your caps, throw on your gowns and load up the car with your family," the organizers said in the SHHS website post. The cruise is scheduled from 8 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, June 9.

Students are directed to attend a mandatory drive-through at St. Helens High School from 12 to 2 p.m. Thursday, June 10, to receive required ceremony information, name tags and other materials. The specific drive-through route will depend on the scheduled building renovation project.

A Senior Celebration scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Doc Ackerson Stadium on the SHHS campus will feature all of the annual speakers and presentations from the school's traditional academic award assembly, senior assembly, and commencement. The Senior Celebration activities will be based on the current pandemic restrictions on that day.

The formal graduation ceremony is scheduled to take place at 12 p.m. June 11 at the Columbia County Courthouse Plaza in the Old District of St. Helens.

Organizers describe the ceremony as the traditional awarding of the diplomas but in a COVID-friendly drive-up format. Seniors with their families, in one vehicle per graduate, will stage at a predetermined staging location at a specified time, then in groups will be led downtown to the courthouse.

Once at the courthouse the graduate will exit the car, be announced as they ascend the stairs to the courthouse, receive their diploma from the principal, pose for a quick photo with the principal, have a professional picture taken with Bell Studios before returning to the vehicle and exiting the square with their families.

More detailed information, such as staging area times and locations will be provided in advance on the SHHS graduation page at


Online Poll

What are your plans for Memorial Day holiday?

You voted:

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

1. Be Civil. No bullying, name calling, or insults.
2. Keep it Clean and Be Nice. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
3. Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
4. Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
5. Be Proactive. Let us know of abusive posts. Multiple reports will take a comment offline.
6. Stay On Topic. Any comment that is not related to the original post will be deleted.
7. Abuse of these rules will result in the thread being disabled, comments denied, and/or user blocked.