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GCS honors grads under new ‘social distancing’ rules

By Yasmine Regester, Peacemaker Staff Writer / May 21, 2020

Makayla Key (center), is flanked by Tracy Norton, assistant principal and Rodney Wilds, principal of Dudley High School. Makayla is a member of the Early College Academy at Dudley High School’s class of 2020, will be attending The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall on a full scholarship as a Morehead-Cain Scholar. As an outstanding student at Dudley, Key has garnered several awards and accomplishments. She served as president of the National Honor Society, a founding member of the Spanish Honor Society, manager of the women’s basketball team and a member of the golf team. Makayla is a Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Award recipient and she has logged more than 1,100 service learning hours while in high school and has earned the GCS Service Learning Diploma. She is also a member of Upward Bound at N.C. A&T State University. Makayla is the daughter of Montorafel and Myra Key and she is the big sister to brother, Monty. Photo by Ivan S. Cutler/Carolina Peacemaker.

Since Guilford County Schools has cancelled its traditional 2020 graduation ceremonies, schools have still found ways to celebrate graduates.

The district’s 28 high schools have been holding “drive-thru” recognitions to honor graduating seniors.

Graduates and families have been lining up (albeit in automobiles) at their respective schools for the past several weeks to take that signature grad photo, say goodbye to teachers and classmates, and celebrate their accomplishments, all while observing new social distancing guidelines.

Schools have been closed since March 15. GCS’ 28 high schools anticipate graduating about 5,600 seniors this school year.

“This pandemic has completely altered what is supposed to be one of the most memorable moments in a student’s life,” said Superintendent Sharon Contreras. “We know this solution isn’t perfect, but our students were clear they did not want virtual graduations. We believe this is the best solution to keep students safe, while still giving everyone a way to immediately celebrate our outstanding seniors.”

The district also intends to hold in-person ceremonies when it is safe to do so.

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