Winston-Salem/Forsyth County High Schools to hold virtual graduation ceremonies and drive-by diploma pickup and picture sessions 

Published 1:09 pm Monday, May 18, 2020

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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 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 virtual ceremonies will premiere on air for seniors and their families to watch and participate in on the weekend of the originally scheduled ceremonies. 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,” said Superintendent Angela Hairston.

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 premiere broadcast of all ceremonies will be on WS/FCS Cable 2 (Spectrum customers) and streamed online via Cable 2 on the district website located. Students and parents are encouraged to watch the ceremonies and celebrate as their graduate’s name is called. 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 — 9 a.m., Friday, June 12

Forsyth Middle College — 10 a.m., Friday, June 12

Reynolds High School — 11 a.m., Friday, June 12

John F. Kennedy High School — 1 p.m., Friday, June 12

Carter High School — 2 p.m., Friday, June 12

Glenn High School — 3 p.m., Friday, June 12

North Forsyth High School — 5 p.m., Friday, June 12

Carver High School — 7 p.m., Friday, June 12

Winston-Salem Preparatory High School — 8:30 a.m., Saturday, June 13

Reagan High School — 9:30 a.m., Saturday, June 13

Parkland High School — 11:30 a.m., Saturday, June 13

Atkins High School — 1:30 p.m., Saturday, June 13

East Forsyth High School — 2:30 p.m., Saturday, June 13

Walkertown High School — 4:30 p.m., Saturday, June 13

Mt. Tabor High School — 5:30 p.m., Saturday, June 13

West Forsyth High School — 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 13                                       

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.