ELOY — The night of May 29 seemed like a scene from the movie “American Graffiti” as cars cruised up and down Eloy’s Main Street with their windows rolled down.
For the younger generation who may not be familiar with the 1973 film, imagine the scene from the Disney movie “Cars,” as there also was a tow-truck driving up and down the street.
It doesn’t matter what movie comparison you use because for many Eloy residents, that Friday night was a great way to relive memories.
Trini McAnulty originally began a group chat on Facebook in hopes to draw some of the local businesses in Eloy after she noticed some posts on Facebook about how people in Midwest towns used to cruise.
She then posted a message on the group chat about how Eloy was also “lit back in the day” and that people would cruise around peacefully. From there the idea of holding a cruise night just snowballed as people started getting on board with the idea.
“The amount of people saying ‘yeah, we should,’” McAnulty said. “I’m like, OK, let’s do it, let’s pick a day and go cruise. Let’s show solidarity for our community. We love our community and our town, let’s go show that we’re still here and that we come together peacefully.”
Initially McAnulty believed that only a few of her closest friends would show up to support her efforts but she never expected to see Main Street full of vehicles.
“I was really surprised at how many people showed up,” she said. “It was really, really nice. They were just so grateful and I’m like no, thank you, Eloy. You guys did this, you guys came out. I just had a platform and an idea; I didn’t do nothing but just say let’s do it.”
McAnulty added that while the older generation felt nostalgic during the whole event, the younger generation experiencing it for the first time had some mixed reactions.
She heard about a group of kids at Circle K asking about what was going on and why.
“A lady had to explain to them that this is what we used to do back in the day to socialize,” McAnulty said. “We were too young to go to the bar so we’d cruise and they’re like, ‘Oh, so it’s like a ‘90s night. That’s cool.’ And then a lot of the kids were like, ‘Why are we going around in the street over and over again? This is dumb, take me home.’”
After receiving positive feedback from all those involved, the plan is to make Cruise Night a monthly event.
“Amidst a world of rioting and protesting, Eloy came together in solidarity to show love and support of our community,” Michael Curradi posted on Facebook.
Eloy Police Chief Chris Vasquez added that the event was done safely and there were no issues.
On Monday night, McAnulty plans to go before the City Council to find out what is permitted as far as trying to get vendors out for Cruise Night and other ideas that can bring the community together.
“Just trying to get something positive back into this town because I’ve been here my whole life,” she said. “I love my town. I want people to be like, ‘Oh, yeah Eloy, that’s the town that cruises.’ Just trying to change people’s view of Eloy into something positive.”
CASA GRANDE — The superintendent of Casa Grande’s high school district says there are no plans to hold an in-person graduation ceremony this year.
Steve Bebee presented information Tuesday to the Casa Grande Union High School District Governing Board about its request last month to research a possible plan to hold in-person graduations if social distancing guidelines allowed for such a ceremony. The district will be sticking with its plan to hold virtual graduation ceremonies, he said.
Bebee said he worked with the principals from the district’s high schools and came up with a plan that would allow the district to hold separate ceremonies for groups of about 40 to 50 students at a time in the schools’ auditoriums. Each student would be allowed to have two guests. The auditoriums would be cleaned between each group.
But when he presented the plan to the district’s attorney, the attorney warned against using the plan. Bebee said the attorney told him that holding a ceremony like this could put the district in legal jeopardy. The attorney pointed out that current social distancing guidelines still prohibit groups of more than 10 people and there was no way to guarantee the health and safety of all involved in the ceremony.
“I’m fulfilling the promise I made to the board that we would have a plan in place should the (social distancing) guidelines have changed and we did that,” Bebee said. “We did put a plan in place and we were ready, but the guidelines have not changed. They’re still the same as they were and our legal counsel again, on Thursday, advised that we not move forward with in-person graduations even if other districts have done it and that if we did move forward we are putting our district at risk.”
Bebee said the principals are still hoping to honor the Class of 2020 during the next school year at homecoming, if social distancing guidelines allow for it.
The board unanimously approved another three-year contract and bonus pay for Bebee.
“I think the district is headed in a good direction,” board member Jack Henness said.