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County high school graduations coming Thursday

Nearly 1,300 students will graduate from Rowan-Salisbury high schools this year, and 1,231 of them will receive their diplomas Thursday.
West Rowan and Carson will both hold their graduation ceremonies on their own campuses. West’s ceremony will be at 8 a.m. and Carson’s will be held at 10 a.m.
East Rowan, South Rowan, North Rowan, Henderson Independent and Salisbury high schools will hold their ceremonies at Keppel Auditorium at Catawba College in Salisbury. The ceremonies will be held at 8 a.m., noon, 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. respectively.
Rowan County Early College held its commencement ceremony on May 23.
Each graduation will have two Rowan-Salisbury administrators present, including Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody, Assistant Superintendent of Administration Nathan Currie, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann, Director of Secondary Education Eisa Cox and Director of Digital Innovation Andrew Smith.
Moody said each administrator will attend three graduations. This year, she attended Rowan County Early College’s graduation ceremony in May, and will attend ceremonies for West Rowan and South Rowan Thursday.
The administrators will rotate which graduations they attend each year.
The reason each administrator will only attend three graduations each, is so they have the opportunity to “enjoy being there” and so no one is rushed, Moody said.
Although there will be a high volume of traffic around Catawba College, Salisbury Police Capt. Melanie Thompson said she doesn’t expect any delays due to graduation day traffic.
In fact, Thompson said she expects traffic to be the best it’s ever been this year.
She has been in charge of planning for and directing graduation traffic for more than 10 years. She’s been using the system they’ll be using Thursday for three years.
Thompson said for graduation attendees to approach the college by going “straight down Innes Street, and then go past Walgreens going toward the college.”
Police officers will direct attendees where to go from there, she added.
Four officers will be directing traffic.
There will be 25 to 30 handicapped parking spaces available in front of Keppel Auditorium, more than have been available in the past. If those spaces run out, drivers will be able to drop off handicapped passengers at the door, then park farther away.
Attendees should be aware that the bridge on West Innes Street between Sells Road and Yost Street is out due to construction, keeping attendees from approaching Catawba College from north of Salisbury on West Innes.
Those coming from the Mocksville area on U.S. 601 should follow the detour signs and turn right on Jake Alexander Boulevard (U.S. 601), left on Statesville Boulevard, then left back onto West Innes Street and approach Catawba from the south.
Thompson doesn’t feel the bridge outage will worsen traffic, however.
“I think it will actually help with traffic,” she said.
Because fewer people will try to cut through the back way, there will be less congestion.
“A lot of people aren’t using that anymore,” she added.

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