Winston-Salem/Forsyth County high schools to hold virtual graduation ceremonies, drive-by diploma pickup and picture sessions

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The COVID-19 pandemic, the closure of all North Carolina Schools for the remainder of the school year, and continued restrictions limiting large gatherings will impact graduation ceremonies for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County high schools.

In an effort to recognize and honor all graduates and their work in a timely manner, all 16 Winston-Salem/Forsyth County high schools will host a virtual commencement ceremony to recognize the Class of 2020, the school system announced Tuesday.

The week following the virtual ceremonies, schools will host a drive-by diploma pickup which will include a chance for graduates to walk across a graduation stage and take pictures. A face-to-face graduation ceremony will be scheduled when conditions allow.

The drive-by diploma pickup schedule will be determined and communicated by each individual high school.

“Graduation is an important milestone – one we must celebrate for the nearly 3,900 graduates in our district. Unfortunately, given the circumstances, these celebrations must meet all state and local restrictions,” Superintendent Angela Hairston said.

She went on to say, “Our task force, which included students, parents, principals and district leadership overwhelmingly felt some type of ceremony needed to happen at the time graduation was originally scheduled. Student leaders told me they also wanted a chance to be celebrated in person, to walk across a stage, and get those momentous pictures. We felt a virtual ceremony and a drive-up diploma pickup was the best way to honor those wishes. It allows the schools to keep the unique ceremonial traditions within their virtual program and still follow the health guidelines our state has in place.”

The broadcast of all ceremonies will be on WS/FCS Cable 2 (Spectrum customers) and streamed online via Cable 2 on the district website. Once the ceremony is aired a downloadable link will be available on every school’s website.

The virtual graduation premiere broadcast schedule is below:

Early College Friday, June 12 9:00 AM

Forsyth Middle College Friday, June 12 10:00 AM

Reynolds High School Friday, June 12 11:00 AM

John F. Kennedy High School Friday, June 12 1:00 PM

Carter High School Friday, June 12 2:00 PM

Glenn High School Friday, June 12 3:00 PM

North Forsyth High School Friday, June 12 5:00 PM

Carver High School Friday, June 12 7:00 PM

Winston-Salem Preparatory High School Saturday, June 13 8:30 AM

Reagan High School Saturday, June 13 9:30 AM

Parkland High School Saturday, June 13 11:30 AM

Atkins High School Saturday, June 13 1:30 PM

East Forsyth High School Saturday, June 13 2:30 PM

Walkertown High School Saturday, June 13 4:30 PM

Mt. Tabor High School Saturday, June 13 5:30 PM

West Forsyth High School Saturday, June 13 7:30 PM

Drive-by Diploma Pickup and Pictures: Beginning the week of June 15, schools will offer drive-by diploma pickup. While each drive-by will be slightly different depending on the school, students will be allowed to hop out of their car, walk across a graduation stage near a campus landmark, pose for a picture and receive their diploma from school leaders. Families and students will be asked to remain in cars until it is their scheduled turn and then return to their cars immediately after and leave campus. More detail about each drive-by session will be communicated directly to students from their individual schools.

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