Strom Thurmond High School class of 2020 graduates

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Johnston, SC (WJBF)- Graduation ceremonies continue in the CSRA.

Friday marked the end of high school for Egdefield County seniors. NewsChannel 6 was with the students at Strom Thurmond High School as the Class of 2020 got to walk the stage together to receive their diplomas.

The original plan for students at Strom Thurmond High School was to split the graduation into groups of three with three different ceremonies. With the loosening of the CDC guidelines, the school went back to the drawing board and decided to bring the class together for one graduation event.

Dawn Ford is a parent of a Strom Thurmond graduate and an employee of the Edgefield County School System. She said that she was pleased with how the county planned graduation.

” I think they did a fantastic job of allowing them to actually come at the last minute…come together, all together, as a class. And Iwork for the district so I know what an amazing job that this entire process has been,” said Ford.

While the district allowed for an in person graduation, there were strict guidelines that had to be followed.

School employees check temperatures at the gate as well as asked students and their families to remain six feet apart. The traditional “photo op” after the ceremony was nixed as well with a rule of no lingering.

NewsChannel 6 spoke to several graduates who have mixed feelings about the ceremony.

“I mean to me, honestly, just from a student’s point of view, I think they could have done better, And honestly I don’t think it really would have worked without as much as the teachers care because they put a lot of love and passion into what they did and I really do appreciate that,” said Anton Lovett, a new graduate.

“I loved it so much. There are so many heartwarming memories of bonding with my peers and the people I was standing in line with,” said graduate, Joshua Courcy.

We even caught up with Homecoming Queen Nataleigh Deal who made national news when she won the crown. She applied to the Clemson L.I.F.E. program and was waitlisted, but she plans to reapply in the fall of 2021.

We asked her what her favorite part of the ceremony was.

“Ummmm, let’s see. Walking the sage and getting my diploma,” sad Deal.

Even though the pandemic forced the student to socially distance and not linger on the football field afterwards, they all agree that after an unconventional senior year, they are just happy to be graduating and that they could do it together.

If you were unable to attend the graduating and want to watch a recording, you can do so on Strom Thurmond High School’s website.

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