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High schools release specific details on drive-thru graduations

SALISBURY – Graduations at county schools were originally scheduled for May 22, but restrictions put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in the district making some changes to try and give graduates a ceremony.

Now, there will be drive-thru commencements held for the graduating classes of each high school on the morning of June 12 to give students something resembling a normal ceremony and the chance to walk across the stage as they take their next steps. Plans for each school vary somewhat, and the following is a compilation of their plans.

Participating in a ceremony is not required to receive a diploma. Schools will release more information as the date draws closer.

The date for more traditional ceremonies is Oct. 10.

This is a list of frequently asked questions included with or adapted to a number of individual school announcements about what will be allowed at the ceremonies:

Who can attend?

Each graduate will be allowed to bring one vehicle.

What kind of vehicle can I bring?

Graduates should arrive in a personal vehicle. Stretch limousines, R.V.s, buses, trailers, commercial vehicles, large passenger vans or other non-personal vehicles are prohibited. Each passenger must have a seatbelt. No passengers may ride in the bed of a pickup truck. Graduates using convertibles must be seated; no riding “parade style.”

Vehicles without a graduate or not meeting these guidelines will be turned away.

Does it matter where I sit in the vehicle?

It is recommended that graduates sit in the front passenger seat. This will make getting in and out of the car quicker for everyone.

How will I get my diploma?

Graduates will exit the vehicle at the indicated location. Graduates will then walk up and across a stage set up in or near the school’s parking lot. The diploma will be presented by the principal as each graduate’s name is announced. There will be staff members directing vehicles.

Can my family get out of the car and take pictures?

No. In order to maintain social distancing and pace of the ceremony, only graduates may exit the vehicle. Each graduate will receive a free professional photograph, available for digital download after the ceremony.

Can I wear my cap and gown?

Yes. Graduates should wear the traditional commencement attire of cap and gown with honorary regalia.

Can I decorate my cap?

Graduates may individually decorate their caps.

What are the guidelines for decorating my cap?

The following is appropriate to put on your cap: an image or item of personal significance; thank a parent, grandparent, teacher or friend; or recognize the university you will attend or the branch of the military you will be joining. The following is not allowed: anything obscene, profane, vulgar or lewd; any symbols, advertisements, initials, abbreviations, words, slogans, patches or pictures that refer to drugs, controlled substances, tobacco, alcohol, weapons or things of a sexual nature. Only the flat, top area of the cap may be decorated. Decorations must be flat on the surface, nothing three-dimensional, hanging off or attached to the sides is allowed.

What happens after I receive my diploma?

Families are asked to leave campus after their graduate receives his or her diploma. Families may not exit vehicles and congregate on campus before, during or after the ceremony.

How will I be able to hear the ceremony?

We will announce the name of each graduate as he or she crosses the stage.

Will there be a rehearsal?

No. For a safe and orderly event, drivers are expected to follow the directions of staff and law enforcement personnel at all times.

Can I just get my diploma without participating in graduation?

Yes. If you prefer not to participate in the drive through graduation ceremony, you may pick up your diploma from the school starting on Monday, June 15.

More information about specific schools is as follows:

East Rowan High School

The ceremony will run from 8-11 a.m., and RSVPs are requested.

Henderson Independent High School

The ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. in the school’s bus parking lot.

Jesse C. Carson High School

The ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. for last names A-F and will be recorded

North Rowan High School

The ceremony will be 8-9:30 a.m. for last names A-F, 9:30-11 for last names G-M and 11 a.m. to 12:30 for last names N-Z. There will be photo opportunities outside the stadium after each graduate walks.

Rowan County Early College

Students with last names A-L will line up beginning lining up at 8 a.m. and will stretch through 9 a.m.. Everyone with last names M-Z will begin lining up at 9 a.m., There is no formal order of graduates, and the school will announce names and award diplomas as graduates line up in vehicles.

Salisbury High School

The ceremony will take place from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. There will be areas for photography in front of the school. Registration will be staggered to avoid traffic issues at a registration area on Taylor Street.

Students with last names A-F will walk from 8 to 9 a.m., G-O from 9 to 10 a.m., P-Z from 10 to 11 a.m. and anyone who can not make those times from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

South Rowan High School

The ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. in front of the school. The ceremony will be recorded and live streamed. Students who walk will receive a free portrait. RSVPs are requested.

West Rowan High School

Last names A-F should arrive at 8 a.m., G-L at at 9 a.m., M-R at 10 a.m. and S-Z at 11 a.m.



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