As Baldwin County students finished their last full week of the 2020 school year, graduating seniors in Baldwin County got the news they were hoping to hear. There will be live graduation ceremonies this year for all six high schools. Those ceremonies are scheduled for June 1st and 2nd. While seniors will be able to walk, there will be changes.
The Class of 2020 will always be known as the quarantine class who persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only has school been a challenge with students finishing out the year remotely, but this class has missed many special moments like prom and honors events. Because of this, news that graduation is on, is extra special.
“I was so worried it wasn’t going to happen. Me and my mom started screaming in the living room,” said Robertsdale High School senior, Ashley Campos. “We were so excited that we were actually going to walk and get a real graduation.”
It’s special, not only for the graduates but also for their parents, who’ve been by their side for their 12-year journey. Even before the news, the parents of Robertsdale seniors teamed up to show their Bear pride. More than 300 senior portraits line Highway 59 in front of the school. They kept it a secret until the posters went up and for the students, the gesture means the world.
“I was just so excited that our school was honoring us and was putting us on the side of 59 for everybody to see that…to know that we graduated even though we’re in these crazy times,” said graduating senior, Sarah Shipp.
For Robertsdale High School principal, Joe Sharp, being able to host a graduation for his seniors is the best news he’s heard in weeks.
“Our parents and our kids have been so great at adjusting to all these curve balls that have been thrown to them and to have to tell them that we were going to do a virtual graduation was going to kill me because this community’s very tight and they’re very proud of our graduates,” Sharp said.
Graduation ceremonies will look quite different though. All will be held outdoors. Only four tickets per graduate will be issued and only seniors will be allowed on the fields for the ceremony. Superintendent, Eddie Tyler has asked that every school also live stream the ceremony.
“I wish I could have just opened it up, but I don’t have a forty-thousand-seat Ladd Stadium. I mean I applaud Chresal in Mobile for doing that,” Tyler said of Mobile County Schools superintendent, Chresal Threadgill. “You know, we’re limited. We want this for the seniors, and we’ve created it and we’re excited. All of them are at seven o’clock, the 1st and the 2nd.”
WALA sends congratulations to all our graduating seniors across the gulf coast and wish them the best of luck moving forward.