Graduation Celebrated 17 Times with Drive-By Ceremony

Desert Torah Academy of Los Vegas, run by Shluchim Rabbi Shea and Dina Harlig, marked the graduation of their 8th grade class with a separate celebration for each student, complete with a red carpet and confetti.  

By reporter

The end of the school year is traditionally marked with graduations, celebrated with ceremonies and parties recognizing the students who reached the milestone.

But this year, with stay-at-home orders preventing graduations in much of the country, schools are getting creative in finding ways to celebrate despite all odds.

The faculty of Desert Torah Academy of Las Vegas, headed by shluchim Rabbi Shea and Dina Harlig, began looking into the different options a few weeks ago. Having heard of drive-by graduations happening in New York, they decided to try it in Vegas as all.

Looking for help arranging the graduation, they turned to home grown talent, and contacted the talented Rabbi Mendy Harlig, currently of Crown Heights, to help them organize the event.

And organize he did. A full size LED truck, displaying the photos of the 17 graduates, drove to each of the houses where they stopped for a full ceremony. A red carpet was unrolled, a small podium was set up and a festive arch was erected for the graduate to walk under.

After being welcomed out of his house by Rabbi and Mrs. Harlig, each graduate gave a short speech to his family and the shluchim, after which they were presented with a certificate and even had confetti thrown at them, making them feel as if they were by a ‘regular’ graduation.

“Rabbi Mendy Harlig thought of every last detail, and managed to make every graduate feel like they weren’t missing anything,” a faculty member told “We look forward to the day that he will be moving back to Las Vegas to join the growing team of shluchim.”

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