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High schools to conduct graduation ceremonies

Class of 2021

Immediate Release
May 20, 2021

Contact:  Todd Hagans
    Chief Communications Officer
    Office:  (704) 866-6118

High schools to conduct graduation ceremonies for Class of 2021

More than 2,100 seniors to receive their diploma from Gaston County Schools

Gastonia, N.C. – Graduation for Gaston County Schools is Friday, May 28, and ten public high schools will conduct ceremonies that day to present diplomas to the Class of 2021.  This year, 2,167 seniors will graduate from Gaston County Schools.  

Ashbrook, Bessemer City, Cherryville, Stuart W. Cramer, East Gaston, Forestview, Highland, Hunter Huss, North Gaston, and South Point will hold high school graduation on May 28 at 6:00 p.m.  The ceremony will be held outdoors in the school’s stadium. 

Tickets are required for entry into the stadium.  Each school will communicate with students/families about the number of tickets that will be allotted for each graduate.  Anyone with questions about tickets should contact the school.  In the event of inclement weather on May 28, the outdoor ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 29 at 9:00 a.m.

For the 10 outdoor ceremonies, participants (students, teachers/staff, families, special guests, etc.) will not be required to wear a mask while in the stadium, but may wear one if they choose to do so.  The graduates will be seated six feet apart and maintain social distancing as they approach the staging area to receive their diploma.  Students, teachers/staff, guests, etc. will be required to wear a mask during the time they are inside the school building for lineup.         

In addition to ceremonies at the 10 traditional high schools, ceremonies will be held at four other schools with a graduating class.

The Gaston Early College High School will conduct its graduation on Thursday, May 20 at 6:00 p.m.  The ceremony will be held on the front lawn of Morris Library at Gaston College in Dallas.

Graduation exercises for the Gaston County Virtual Academy, Webb Street School, and Warlick Academy take place on Wednesday, May 26.  The Virtual Academy ceremony is at 9:00 a.m. at the Gastonia Conference Center.  The Webb Street ceremony is at 11:00 a.m. in the school’s gymnasium, and the Warlick ceremony is at 2:30 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium. 

Webb Street, Warlick, and Gaston County Virtual Academy are allowed to conduct an indoor ceremony since each school has no more than 15 graduates and ample space is available to conduct the program indoors.  For the three indoor ceremonies, all participants (students, teachers/staff, families, guests, etc.) will need to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Each high school graduation is a well-planned, formal ceremony intended to highlight each senior.  To ensure that each graduate’s name is heard by everyone, attendees should refrain from boisterous applause and celebration until all graduates have received their diploma. 

All high schools have a comprehensive safety plan for graduation, and school officials have spent time working with local law enforcement to ensure that graduation is an enjoyable experience for everyone in attendance.  To ensure safety, the following procedures will be in place:

▪ Each school will have additional security personnel – a police presence will be noticeable on campus.

▪ Attendees should arrive early and be prepared to stand in line to enter the ceremony.

▪ Metal detectors (walk-through units and hand-held wands) will be used.  Everyone at graduation, including students, parents, relatives, school personnel, and guests, will be subject to metal detection screening.

▪ Attendees are discouraged from bringing purses and handbags to graduation.  Purses/handbags must be screened, which is a process that slows down the entrance line.

▪ Traffic congestion is likely near the high schools beginning one hour before the start of graduation.  Attendees should plan accordingly to allow enough time for parking and entering the ceremony.

▪ Being vigilant is important.  Anyone who sees or is aware of suspicious activity at graduation should contact a school official or law enforcement immediately.

Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker stated: “Graduation is a milestone for our seniors, and we are very proud of all students in the Class of 2021 – they are an impressive group of graduates.  This is a special time for our seniors to reflect on their many achievements in academics, athletics, the fine arts, extracurricular activities, and other areas and look forward to the bright future that is ahead of them.”

Dr. Booker added, “The Board of Education joins me in congratulating our graduates in the Class of 2021 and wishing them much success as they begin a new and exciting phase in life.”

Originally, Gaston County Schools had planned to conduct two outdoor graduation ceremonies at each of its 10 traditional high schools to allow for as many spectators as possible while adhering to COVID-19 capacity restrictions.  Following Governor Cooper’s announcement on May 14, the decision was made by the high school principals to conduct one ceremony at each school.

Click here for a chart with information about our graduation ceremonies.

Click here to visit our Graduation 2021 webpage.