Anderson School Dist. 5 to reschedule 2020 graduation, rather than hold virtual ceremony

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ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Days after Anderson School District 5 officials announced that they would be hosting a virtual graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020, district officials on Monday decided to reschedule the ceremony in order to hold it at each of their high school’s stadiums instead.

The following is a statement from Superintendent Thomas Wilson:

“After receiving considerable input from our students, parents and the community, Anderson Five has decided to reschedule our 2020 graduation for a later date.

The graduation ceremony will take place at each high school stadium, and the date will be determined after consultation with health officials, in order to guarantee anyone who wishes to attend can do so. Safety of our students continues to be the paramount topic driving our graduation decisions. Is is our desire to have a traditional graduation, and to do so the date of ceremonies may be later June or July.

Students who choose not to participate may pick up their diplomas at each high school beginning on June 1.”

“There were a lot of seniors that were upset about it, and I felt like if I started a petition, maybe it would spark some type of change,” said Kylie Bunker, Senior at Westside High School.

Bunker said she was disappointed to learn about the original plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was pretty upset. We worked really hard for like 12 years,” Bunker said.

This sparked her petition, which now has more than 2,000 signatures. It also moved a number of groups like Freedom Fighters Upstate SC, to take action.

“We gave birth to these children. We watched these children grow up. We encourage them all through life to stay in school,” said Mysonya Miles, concerned mom.

Now that district leaders are planning to have the ceremonies at a later date, some said they’re happy with the change.

“I’m really glad that they listened to us and heard our concerns,” Bunker said.

Tautraina Pratt said she’s glad the originally decision has been reversed. She also said no matter how late graduations may potentially be, she’s grateful her biggest supporters will be there to cheer her on.

“I wasn’t going to make it. And my family was the one that pushed me to graduate and help me through this whole journey. So I don’t care how late it is, as long as my mama can be there,” Pratt said.

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