Good News: In-person graduation ceremonies

Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 1:32 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System has announced plans for in-person graduation ceremonies that will be outdoors, with limited attendance and social distancing.

“As a former high school principal, this is always the best season, when the seniors are really doing the senior strut so to speak,” said Associate Superintendent of Secondary Schools Bernadette Ball-Oliver.

And those 12th graders in Chatham County are once again strutting toward the best walk of their young lives, when they get to cross a stage in front of classmates and family members at an in-person graduation ceremony.

“It became our No. 1 priority. Our superintendent was committed to it and the wonderful thing is every division and every department has been behind us, it has become a district effort,” Ball-Oliver said.

SCCPSS released a video for students and families promoting this year’s ceremonies.

But the decision to offer in-person graduation in 2021 is a sign to the entire community that we are continuing to come out of the pandemic. And a touchstone memory for the seniors of 2021 that will last the rest of their lives. “It’s absolutely wonderful. We have gotten so much positive feedback. You must acknowledge that accomplishment. Graduation is a milestone.”

Last year, in the thick of COVID, seniors celebrated remotely with drive-by graduations and socially distanced ceremonies. But students who felt they had missed out on an experience last year are being invited to participate this year in a multi-school celebration at the end of graduation week.

“There will be some 2020 graduates who will walk across the stage on Friday as part of the multi-school ceremony. We were committed to bringing that option for them. We talked about last year and if there was a way for us to do it, we would offer that option.”

But the school district will once again offer those drive-up celebrations, which turned out to be popular with students.

“Our seniors this year clearly let us know that it’s an expectation now, not an exception but an expectation. And we are actually excited.”

The Class of 2021 should be too.

The schedule of Curbside Distribution Ceremonies is below:

May 3, 2021

Windsor Forest High, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

New Hampstead High, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Islands High, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

May 4, 2021

Johnson High School, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Beach High School, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Savannah Arts Academy, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Woodville Tompkins High, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

May 6, 2021

Groves High School, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Jenkins High School (Memorial Stadium Visitors Side Parking Lot), 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Savannah High School, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Savannah Early College, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

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