High school graduation plans starting to come together as state provides guidelines


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – High school graduations are a special experience.

“It’s their day, it’s their moment they only get to do it once,” Elizabethton High School principal Jon Minton said.

Governor Lee stated it’s up to the individual school systems to make their own plans for high school graduations, whether it be in person or for virtual ceremonies.

Kingsport City Schools has not made a decision yet, but they said the new set of guidelines will help them in making that decision.

“I think it’s helpful to get that kind of guidance from the Department of Education and from the state, we’re trying to really measure a lot of different factors when it comes to figuring out our best path forward,” Kingsport City Schools assistant superintendent Andy True said.

Sullivan County Schools is working with its principals and students to make a decision, but they stated today they will not be able to host any May graduations.

“We will refine that and have representatives from each of the high schools join us in a conference next week,” Sullivan County Schools director of schools David Cox said.

Elizabethton High School tried to get out in front of this, already making a tentative plan for graduation before this news from the state.

“We started making plans a long time ago as to what we would do even though we knew the situation was going to take on a life of its own if it came to this,” Minton said.

The plan is to hold a drive-thru ceremony in the parking lot on May 23rd, the same day that the original graduation was supposed to take place. They get to safely receive their diplomas and another in-person celebration could take place in July.

“So we’ll still get that graduation experience so we kinda get two graduations so I’m excited for it and I’m glad we’re doing something on May 23rd but I don’t know I’m trying to think positively about everything,” Elizabethton High School senior Morgan Smith said.

It was important to them to be proactive for these kids, since it’s their celebration after all.

“Although it’ll look very different they’re a very unique class with unique circumstances and it definitely calls for a unique plan and that’s what we’ve got,” Minton said.

You can find Michael Epps on Facebook and Twitter.

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