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GCHS holds drive-thru graduation ceremony

July 31, 2020 - 00:00
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  • Article Image Alt Text
    GCHS graduate Jesus Soto arrived to last week’s drivethru graduation ceremony in a Ford F-150 adorned with balloons and a tiger print on the hood. JUSTIN HUBBARD/Staff
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Greene County High School graduates parade through town atop cars following their drive-thru graduation ceremony on Saturday, July 25. LEILA SCOGGINS/Staff
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    Greene County High School graduate Maleah Glenn receives her diploma during Saturday morning’s ceremony from GCHS assistant principal Mariana Mansfield. JUSTIN HUBBARD/Staff

Last Saturday saw Greene County High School add a new group of alumni in the most unique fashion in school history.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the school honored its 2020 graduates with a drivethru ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. July 25. Graduates drove around the school’s circular driveway, got out of their vehicles, walked to a stage set up in front of the school, received their diplomas and posed for photos before climbing back into their vehicles.

The graduates then moved to the student parking lot and lined up for a parade through downtown Greensboro following the ceremony.

Speaking into a microphone so graduates could hear even in their cars, Superintendent Dr. Chris Houston urged the graduates to continue pushing forward in life.

“Cherish this moment. Pause and share it with your family and friends. Take pictures and celebrate,” Houston said. “But we do not want you to stop here."

"You have come a long way, but there is much more to your journey.” - Dr. Chris Houston

GCHS principal James Peek addressed the graduates next. He pointed out that he and the graduates started at GCHS the same year.

“Education is one of the most positive tools that you can use to change the world,” Peek said. “I encourage each of you to always follow your dreams and believe in yourself. Greene County High School’s Class of 2020 has stood tall and shown overwhelming resilience during this global pandemic. I have been continually impressed with this group of senior’s camaraderie, academic focus, level of involvement in school activities and community outreach.”

In a video posted to the Greene County School System’s YouTube account Saturday, valedictorian Ayesha Allen and salutatorian Ricquaria Griggs addressed their classmates.

“Do not be discouraged,” Griggs said. “If your 2020 experience has been anything like mine, it has been hard, challenging, frustrating, and everything but what we expected our senior year to be. But I want to remind you: This is not the end. Sure, maybe things aren’t going as planned or as expected but that is not a valid reason for you to give up.”

Allen said she hopes the Class of 2020 will learn to appreciate things considering what was taken away from them because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I believe we have a right to be upset,” Allen said. “We lost the fun and the closure that we were promised and expected our last three months of senior year. This experience will undoubtedly stick with us and our families for a long time. However, we should not dwell on the things we cannot change. Instead of dwelling, we should let these circumstances be a learning experience.”