Rocky Mount, N.C. – Unable to host their traditional graduation ceremony this school year amid the pandemic, Rocky Mount Prep faculty and staff created a sustained and recorded virtual celebration.
“The senior advisors wanted to make sure that the COVID-19 pandemic did not ruin our scholars and parents’ dreams of celebrating this once in a lifetime high school graduation celebration milestone,” said Juliet Joyner, senior advisor.
Dr. Chaunte Garrett, Rocky Mount Prep Head of School, began the celebration by sharing a video message with the school community in which she dedicated the entire month of May to honoring and celebrating the Rocky Mount Prep Class of 2020 for their hard work and achievements.
“Every member of the Class of 2020 has left an indelible mark on our school community. You have graced us with your brilliance. You have shown us what it means to be bold. You have shown us what it means to be brave,” Dr. Garrett, Head of School, stated in her video message.
Following the video message, the school began highlighting seniors individually on their social media outlets, including future plans and special messages.
“From the time our students enter school, they all have a shared common goal; which is to graduate,” said graduation coordinator and senior advisor, Lakeia Palmer. “Walking across the stage validates the completion of their school journey and a goal accomplished. Our seniors have worked extremely hard to get to where they are now. Knowing that our students could be faced with the emotional toll of not being able to experience the traditional milestone of walking across the stage, we begin to explore opportunities that would both maintain safety and share in this momentous occasion.”
Seniors were photographed as they walked across a stage specially erected in the front entrance of the school building in their cap and gowns to receive their diplomas at a scheduled time. Appointments were scheduled over a three-day window to ensure compliance with COVID regulations. Two family members of each student could witness this special moment with the graduate.
“The graduation ceremony is an important milestone that signifies the culmination of this long journey for students,” said Inezsia Anderson, high school counselor and senior advisor. “They shared the feeling of excitement and accomplishment, just as many others have before them. To walk across the stage in front of parents and acknowledging administrators, holding the diploma, proclaims, ‘I did it’— a proud, personal moment now captured forever on film.”
The virtual graduation ceremony, including speakers and a comprehensive presentation of all graduates of the Class of 2020 will be available online for scholars and families to view on their graduation day, Thursday, May 21st at 6:00 p.m.