Traditional graduation ceremonies will be held for Griffin-Spalding Class of 2020

STAFF REPORT :::

Traditional graduation ceremonies for the Griffin-Spalding Class of 2020 will be held June 25 and 26.

The announcement made Wednesday by Griffin-Spalding County School System Superintendent Jim Smith followed the tabulation of results from a graduation survey sent to local seniors and their parents and guardians. The results were presented to school system officials by Dr. Donald Warren, executive director of secondary education, who headed the Graduation Task Force.

“The survey closed last week Tuesday April 21 at midnight. We sincerely appreciate all seniors and parents and guardians from A.Z. Kelsey, Griffin High School and Spalding High School who provided their input regarding graduation ceremonies,” Smith said before announcing the results of 611 survey responses.

Respondents overwhelmingly preferred a traditional graduation ceremony with 89 percent rejecting a virtual graduation.

The month most preferred for the graduation ceremony was June, which received 43 percent of the votes, with July coming in second with 38 percent and August rounding it out with 19 percent.

“Therefore, to honor survey results, the Griffin-Spalding County School System will honor the Class of 2020 in May and is planning to hold baccalaureate and graduation activities during the last week in June,” Smith said.

The baccalaureate service for A.Z. Kelsey will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 24 at First Assembly of God and the graduation ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, June 25 in Griffin Auditorium.

Griffin High School’s baccalaureate will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 24 at First Assembly of God with the graduation ceremony to take place at 7 p.m. Friday, June 26 in Memorial Stadium.

Spalding High School baccalaureate service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 21 in First Baptist Church and the graduation ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 25 in Memorial Stadium.

In the event of inclement weather, both Griffin and Spalding high schools’ graduation ceremonies will be held inside each school’s gymnasium.

“The GSCS Graduation Task Force will meet on June 10 to review current CDC and Georgia Public Health guidelines for public gatherings, crowd sizes and locations to make a final determination if we can proceed with our plans for graduation activities the last week in June,” Smith said. “If the district determines it is appropriate to conduct traditional graduation ceremonies, each school will issue the number of baccalaureate and graduation tickets adhering to CDC and Georgia Public Health social distancing guidelines to keep all attendees safe regardless of the event’s location.”

Should it be determined the graduation ceremonies should not be held in June, alternate dates in July will be considered. The Graduation Task Force would then meet again in early July to determine if a traditional graduation ceremony would be appropriate and to determine how it should proceed compliant to public health guidelines.

If officials determine the traditional graduation ceremony should not be held in July, GSCSS leaders will schedule it before December, which has been identified as the final alternate month to hold 2020 graduation ceremonies.

“I want to thank you for your patience as we work through the planning process keeping your child, your family and our staff’s health and safety in mind. Student senior leaders, high school staff and administrators, as well as our district leadership are working tirelessly to ensure that the Class of 2020 is honored and celebrated,” Smith said.  “As you see above, we are working to provide two opportunities to conduct our traditional graduation activities this summer, in June or July depending on health and safety considerations, before moving to our fallback plan in December.”

The Class of 2020 is also being honored online. Please visit www.spaldingk12.ga.us to view the Destination Graduation page. Seniors and parents are also encouraged to add photos on social media using #DestinationGraduation and #GSCSGrad2020.

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