CMS announces “non-traditional graduation plan” for Class of 2020

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, district officials said each high school will say goodbye to graduating seniors via virtual ceremonies.
Class-of-2020-CMS-graduation-plans

Pre-recorded speeches and drive-thru lines to get diplomas.

With classes interrupted and cut short because of the coronavirus (Covid-19), nothing has been traditional for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools class of 2020 — including graduation plans.

At last night’s school board meeting, district officials said each high school will say goodbye to graduating seniors via virtual ceremonies.

“This is the first graduation that I’ll oversee as superintendent, and I wish with all my heart that it could be a traditional one,” Earnest Winston, the district’s first-year superintendent, said in a statement. “…Unfortunately, it has been apparent since the Covid-19 pandemic began that we would not be able to celebrate the Class of 2020 in a traditional way.”

Why it matters: The decision will impact nearly 10,000 graduating seniors and the more than 102,000 people who might normally attend the ceremonies as guests, according to CMS.

The plan: Pre-recorded ceremonies will feature elements of a traditional graduation — remarks by an invited speaker and senior class representative and the reading of each graduate’s name (with available photos).

  • Students will receive diplomas during drive-thru ceremonies.
  •  A “school-based celebration” will be held for graduates at some later date.

CMS decided on this plan with the help of a task force and after reviewing survey responses from more than 1,000 seniors.

The bottom line: “A virtual graduation wasn’t something that seniors wanted as a whole,” Dream Allen, a Rocky River High School senior, said in a statement. “But being on the task force and being told all the safety measures and guidelines that must be followed, it made sense to everyone that a virtual graduation was the best option.”

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