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A student picks up his diploma during a graduation ceremony at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School on May 6 in Bradley, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images

This week, high school and college seniors across the United States are graduating — a major milestone that looks a little different during a global pandemic.

Many schools are holding virtual events or drive-through celebrations, or postponing their ceremonies until later in the summer in hopes of having them in person. But some schools are finding safe ways to make sure the show goes on.

One high school in Indiana, located close to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will be handing out diplomas to seniors at the racetrack’s finish line. Each student and their family will be allowed one car, in which they will get to drive onto the speedway and get out at the finish line.

For many college seniors, the process looks more stressful: they are graduating into a labor market that’s been devastated by Covid-19. But for a few days, they get to celebrate the end of their student careers, and the culmination of years of hard work.

Many seniors returned to their campuses and dormitories this week, wearing face masks and gowns to take graduation photos — a rite of passage. Other students held small gatherings to carry out graduation rituals, like jumping into school fountains and toasting champagne.

In New York, following annual tradition, the Empire State Building was lit up purple on Tuesday night in celebration of New York University’s graduation. Tomorrow, it will be lit blue and white for Columbia University’s graduation.

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