News & Events
On the 30th of May 2020, the American Community School Beirut (ACS Beirut) held its 109th Commencement Exercises and graduation ceremony, Grad on Wheels, for the class of 2020 at the ACS Beirut campus, celebrating the accomplishments of 91 graduating students in a one-of-a-kind ceremony on wheels!
As the coronavirus pandemic prompted the cancellation of all traditional graduation ceremonies in Lebanon, ACS faced the question of how to honor the years, the connections, and the journey that their senior class had experienced while at ACS. The School created a full month-long campaign highlighting the seniors on social media, building a virtual senior lounge, sending them senior care packages, delivering caps and gowns to their homes, and concluding with a “drive-through” graduation ceremony that captured the attention and filled the hearts of both their seniors and their families.
A parking lot served as the staging area for the historic Grad on Wheels and all senior families to be able to watch the class movie as well as the full graduation ceremony on two large screens while inside their cars. The ceremony began with a School-created special film premiere addressing the graduates and concluded with the traditional “tossing of the caps”. The class speaker senior Ghazi Nasser ’20, delivered a speech during the film alongside Yasmine Raad ’20 who sang the closing number.
After the movie, families drove their cars from the parking lot to the front of ACS, where graduates stepped out in their cap and gown to receive the diploma on an outdoor stage and take a traditional picture in the presence of ACS Board Member Mr. Fawzi Farah, ACS Head of School Mr. Greg MacGilpin, ACS Deputy Head of School Mr. Karim Abu Haydar, and ACS High School Principal Dr. Rob Allison. Before leaving campus, graduates headed down the Alumni Lane to drop their artifact for the Class of 2020’s 10-year time capsule.
“Perhaps more than any other graduation in history, our "Grad on Wheels" demonstrates both the innovative spirit at ACS as well as the importance of tradition and connection as we celebrate the end of their time at ACS for our graduates during a tumultuous period in our country and the world,” said ACS Head of School Greg MacGilpin. He addressed the graduates by asking them to reflect “on the kindness all people they had encountered in their lives, even during these uncertain times, as it would serve others and help them become more compassionate and balanced in their lives.”
The ceremony also streamed live on ACS Beirut Website and Social Media for grandparents, extended family members, alumni, friends, and ACS faculty members to be able to view and celebrate the seniors. Students and their families as well as faculty and staff present at the ceremony wore facemasks and adhered to the physical/social distancing.