RSS schedules traditional graduation for class of 2020

Published 4:38 pm Monday, June 28, 2021

SALISBURY — Rowan-Salisbury Schools on Monday announced plans to make good on a promise it made more than a year ago.

The district will give the class of 2020 a traditional, in-person graduation ceremony at West Rowan High School on July 24. The 8 a.m. ceremony will be open to anyone from the class of 2020 who registers.

“It was very important to us to honor the hard work and resilience of the class of 2020,” RSS Superintendent Tony Watlington said in a statement. “These students missed out on so many opportunities and experiences during their senior year. While we can’t go back in time, we can make sure that our class of 2020 alumni have the opportunity to celebrate their academic achievements in person.”

A drive-thru graduation was the only ceremony last year’s seniors received. Attendance was limited to one car per family. With the drive-thru, RSS also promised then-seniors a traditional ceremony to be held at some time in the future, anticipating the COVID-19 pandemic would wane in short order. That did not happen. Gathering limits remained in place as the virus made a resurgence in the fall and winter.

Students did get to walk across the stage during the drive-thru events, but it occurred in a parking lot with no hand shakes, friends or crowd of people watching,

Neighboring Kannapolis City Schools got as close as possible to a normal graduation, allowing only a few students in the school’s auditorium at once to walk across the stage, but the crowd was still limited.

RSS initially committed to traditional ceremonies with an attendance limit and mask requirement for the class of 2021, but there were no limitations when graduation day came because Gov. Roy Cooper lifted outdoor gathering limits and mask requirements.

Former students can register to be part of the ceremony for the class of 2020 here.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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