Superintendent Russell Thompson announced Pineville High School’s plans for 2020 graduation last week in a video post on the school’s Facebook page.

Graduation will take place as originally scheduled on Sunday, May 17 at 2 p.m. Due to social distancing guidelines, the seniors will  be driven by their families around the school to the high school entrance. A stage will be set up outside where each senior will walk across to pick up their diploma cover as their family watches from inside the vehicle.

“We want to make this graduation as special for these graduates as we can in these trying times,” Thompson said. “We don’t want them to feel cheated or left out of any opportunity that we could possibly give them.”

He said that after receiving feedback from the seniors and their parents, two very important things to them were having a live graduation and for familes to have the opportunity to see their children walk across the stage and graduate.

Thompson said the school must adhere to state guidelines and the governor’s recommendations but also wanted to give the seniors and their families what they wanted. So the drive-thru graduation ceremony will be held with the following components:

— Graduation will be held outside in front of the high school entrance.

— A stage will be set up so that students will be able to get out of their car and walk across the stage and receive their diploma cover. They will then exit the stage and have their picture taken.

— Graduates must arrive in the passenger seat of a vehicle. (Assistance will be provided by the school for any students who do not have someone to drive them.)

— Each graduate can have an accompanying vehicle for a total of two cars per graduating student. Only the graduate will be able to leave the vehicle, however everyone in the vehicles will be able to see the graduate walk across the stage.

— The students will be broken up in groups of 20-22 so the traffic doesn’t get too backed up and to make it easier to line the graduates up in alphabetical order.

— The graduation ceremony will be streamed on Facebook Live to allow all family and community members to watch from their homes.

— The ceremony will then be edited with speeches from the valedictorian and salutatorian added along with the benediction and senior videos.

— All graduates will receive a flash drive with the final video.

There will also be a parade directly after graduation at 4 p.m.

“We ask the community to please get involved if you can,” Thompson said. “I know we’re all safe at home, but if you could come out on your porches and maybe clap for the graduates as they drive by. We’re also asking Main Street Pineville to help and the Pineville Police Department has volunteered to help get us through the ceremony as best as we possibly can. We appreciate the city working with us.”

Virginia Avenue and Holly Street will be blocked off during the afternoon of May 17 to allow the graduates and their families space to get lined up for the graduation.

Thompson said any comments, concerns and suggestion are welcome and should be directed to the school administration.

“We’re open to making this the best that we possibly can but we are going to have to follow the recommendations of the governor,” he said. “We’re very proud of our graduates. We had a great meeting and they are all very receptive of these plans. We’re looking forward to making this the best experience that we possibly can.”

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