EDEN — Last week’s survey of Rockingham County’s graduating seniors found about half want to participate in a parade-style virtual graduation, while the balance choose to hold commencement honors at the historic Eden Drive-In.
And the school system announced that upcoming graduations will be held May 30, with May 31 as a rain date.
Reidsville High School students and parents, however, are still hashing out a plan. While 67.9% of the 64 students polled chose the Eden Drive-In option, which would stage pomp and circumstance in a way that practiced social distancing, some parents disagreed.
“Everyone but Reidsville felt comfortable with their (survey) results,’’ said Charles Perkins, an assistant superintendent for Rockingham County Schools, in his report to the Rockingham County School Board during Monday night’s regular monthly meeting, held via Zoom.
Perkins explained that RHS Principal Ann Mitchell had asked for extra time to consult with parents and form a committee of parents and students to refine a graduation blueprint.
Board Chairman Paula Rakestraw said she supported students’ right to seriously consider their options. “If they need a little bit more time to figure that out, I think they should have it,’’ she told the board.
In Madison-Mayodan, McMichael High School students voted to celebrate graduation with the car parade option, which would allow students and one family member the opportunity to stop briefly at a stage to be photographed as part of the rolling festivities.
The option also holds the promise of a traditional graduation to be held in the future when COVID19 pandemic restrictions are lifted. Perkins noted that 61.4 % of responding students approved the scenario.
Morehead High School seniors, however, preferred staging the big day at their hometown drive-in movie theater, one of the state’s most popular functioning vintage entertainment venues. The school’s seniors were 63.4% in favor of the plan.
Rockingham County High School graduates want to hold a virtual parade with 68% of those polled in favor.
Rockingham Early College High School held a well-attended and gleeful parade-style commencement on May 6 on the campus of Rockingham Community College. The late morning event featured underclassmen cheering on seniors from a remote hill and plenty of air horns blasting approval as students and their families drove through. Each student was able to make a brief photo stop and paraders showed off colorful congratulatory posters, balloons and festooned parade cars.
Video tributes are an added feature the school system will provide each high school to enhance their virtual graduations.
Roy Sawyers of RockinghamUpdate will compile recordings of student speeches, images of individual students with notations of their accomplishments and photos and video of parades and drive-in celebrations to create slideshows for each high school to enjoy online after their actual respective ceremonies.
The first, which chronicles RECHS’s virtual parade, will air at 6 p.m. on Friday on Rockingham Update, RCC’s social media and television station, and on all Rockingham County Schools’ social media sites.