JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Jefferson County high schools now have plans for graduating seniors.
Superintendent Dr. Walter Gonsoulin announced those plans Friday morning.
Approximately 3,000 Jefferson County seniors have been waiting in anticipation of this announcement, and now they can finally breathe a sigh of relief, knowing all their hard work will finally be acknowledged.
Jefferson County school leaders have been working diligently over the last two weeks to celebrate the graduating class of 2020.
“We came up with a collaboration plan to see how we can celebrate our students because it was not going to be an option not to celebrate,” said Dr. Gonsoulin.
When the superintendent realized students would not be returning to school this year, he jumped into action enlisting the help of principals and students to come up with a plan.
“Really what we were checking is just to see that the guidelines were followed to ensure that the children were celebrated. And I told them when I looked at the guidelines that these kids are smarter than us, so I think they’ve got it. We’ll just follow what they say, and we’ll be alright,” said Dr. Gonsoulin.
From there, principals came up with their graduation plans and submitted them to Dr. Gounsolin and his cabinet for approval.
Each of the 14 schools within the district has its own unique plan for graduation, ranging from small ceremonies, to drive through exercises, plans students had a hand in creating.
“At Pleasant Grove High School, we will be doing one student at a time with 5 family members entering the auditorium, said Graduating Senior, Aaron Moseley.
“I will enter the stage as our counselors call our names, and then I will receive my diploma from my principal, take a picture with our principal. The rest of the graduates will follow,“ Moseley explained.
MacKenzie Veitch is a senior at Oak Grove High School.
She said she would love to have a traditional graduation, but understands why they can’t.
“At our school we’re graduating 10 seniors at a time,” said Veitch.
“Our parents have to stay in the car outside. So, even though we’ll be socially distanced and away from each other, I’ll still get to graduate alongside nine of my other friends, and my family will get to watch me, which is really what’s important to me,” Veitch said.
And while it may not be the graduation students always dream of, the ceremonies will have unique qualities.
“I know we can replace it, but they are special because, where I can’t remember mine, the whole world will remember theirs,” said Dr. Gonsoulin.
For more details on how each school is celebrating its seniors, head to each school’s website.
UPDATE: The Jefferson County Board of Education has released the following statement Friday night after Governor Ivey amended the Safer at Home Order:
Our current graduation plans are based on the state’s original Safer at Home Order. The governor announced changes to that order Friday. Due to those amendments, we will review and reevaluate our commencement plans. Just as before, we will consult with the Jefferson County Department of Health and the Alabama State Department of Education. If any changes are warranted, we will communicate them as soon as possible. Our main priority is to celebrate our students in a safe and responsible way.