Freeport High School seniors unhappy with graduation plans

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SOUTH WALTON Fla. (WMBB) — Although there is a plan for classes to return in August, there are many students and parents not pleased with how graduations will be celebrated.

Because of COVID-19 graduations are being looked at carefully. 

“No graduations have been canceled,” said Jennifer Hawthorne the Deputy Superintendent of Walton County School District. “But we are reaching out to students and our parents to figure out the best way to move forward.”

Hawthorne said the Walton County School District wants to continue to keep everyone safe.

“But we want to honor our kids and celebrate our kids,” Hawthorne said.

Some Freeport seniors do not feel that is the case after receiving a survey asking if they will attend a drive-through graduation ceremony out of the blue.

“They said that their final decision will be next week on exactly what they want,” said Adelle Strickland, Vice President of the Freeport senior class. “But they asked us, well they told us actually that we are having a drive-in graduation, are you going to participate.”

Senior Grace Garringer decided to create a petition to show Freeport High School that seniors want a traditional ceremony., regardless of the CDC recommendations that will be in place.

“I did the petition so that I can have some support from our community showing our school district that other people are with us with this change that we want to have a real graduation and not to have something just like boring I guess,” Garringer said. “It is not real to us.”

Parents have taken to community Facebook pages to show their support for the petition.

“I mean every senior deserves a celebration, but this year they haven’t gotten any of the milestones,” said Ruth Pearce a parent of a Freeport High School senior. “They didn’t get prom, they didn’t get senior trips, they didn’t get anything like that. So there is zero closure, zero celebration, zero recognition.”

Hawthorne says graduation decisions will be made on a school by school basis, and the district does not play a part. 

Garringer just hopes her petition will assist in Freeport High School making those final decisions.

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