Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Havelock High’s Class of 2020 were still able to don their caps and gowns, walk across the stage and receive their hard-earned diplomas in what has now become commonplace – a non-traditional graduation.
Principal Stacie Friebel, who is in her first year, said pretty much everyone wanted the graduation to happen earlier rather than later. Information regarding the decision was sent out to parents on May 20.
“Prior to that, a survey was sent to seniors and parents asking for their feedback regarding a non-traditional ceremony in June or a traditional ceremony at a later date (if restrictions allowed). The majority of parents, seniors and staff members wanted to move forward with a June ceremony,” Friebel said by email.
Instead of holding graduation at the usual location of Havelock High School Rams Stadium Wilbur R. Sasser Field, it took place inside of the Havelock Performing Arts Center, according to Friebel.
Students and families were able to select a time slot for their graduation from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. over the course of three days – June 1-3. Friebel said temperature checks were set up outside for screening and guests had to wear masks inside the building.
“There were photo op areas set up outside for families to utilize during their short wait. Students and their guests entered the HPAC one at a time for an individual opportunity to cross the stage, receive their diploma and turn their tassel,” Friebel said.
Since Gov. Roy Cooper was forced to shut down North Carolina public schools in March, all classwork has had to be done remotely. As expected it hasn’t been easy for students or staff. According to Friebel, over the last few months, the school was focused hard on the educational and mental needs of the students.
“They are a great group of young men and women. Once it became apparent that we would not return to school in the traditional sense, we started working on plans to try to show them how much we love them. Isolation was tough on all of us but the seniors had an extra layer of pain because they were missing their ‘lasts,’” she said.