Whiteville High School hosts drive-in graduation ceremony

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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — ‘Tis the season for final goodbyes for graduating seniors.

Unfortunately, not every senior will get the chance to walk across the stage and accept their diploma.

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But Whiteville High School faculty and staff wanted to make sure their students were celebrated one last time.

WHS hosted a drive-in graduation ceremony on Saturday at the Columbus County Fairgrounds.

Students and their loved ones drove onto the fairgrounds and parked in front of their seniors photo.

Everyone was asked to stay in their cars until it was time for the graduates to march.

Michael Hobbs, Principal of WHS, opened the ceremony.

“While this is not a typical graduation ceremony, we hope that today provides a memorable experience that will honor our graduates,” Hobbs said.

Camrahn Jamison, Senior Class President, then addressed his peers.

“I would also like to thank the faculty and administration for not letting us graduate on Google Classroom,” Jamison said. “I’m so glad I didn’t have to push ctrl, alt and space bar to receive my diploma.”

His speech reflected on the class’ memories while in school, and motivated the graduates to make a name for themselves.

“Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something. If you want it, you should follow your dreams and desires. We are at a point in our lives where the sky is literally the limit,” Jamison said. “Seniors, don’t forget, when we go through trials in life after we leave the confines of Whiteville go make a name for yourself.”

Margaret High, class representative, gave the senior address.

“The list of the things I will never take for granted again seems endless,” High said. “And includes every second that I have been able to spend with my classmates over the last four years.”

Graduates stood 6 feet apart as they lined up to receive their diplomas.

Julie Fonvielle, math teacher and graduation committee chairman, says the goal was to make the ceremony as close to normal as possible.

“I’m just glad that we were able to do this,” Fonvielle said. “The photos, the banners, and the different celebrations to kinda keep it as normal as possible for these kids.”

Fonvielle not only wanted to make the occasion special for her students.

Her daughter, Leigh Anne, is among the WHS Class of 2020.

“I’m glad we were able to get this as close to a traditional graduation as possible for her,” Fonvielle said.

Graduate Andrickia Gause says she had almost lost hope.

She believed they may not have a graduation.

“But, to God be the Glory! We have a graduation!” Gause said.

She says hearing her name and receiving her diploma was not only special to her.

“I made my parents proud and I worked hard,” Gause said. “And I made myself proud and my siblings.”

She says online learning has been stressful, but WHS teachers and staff stood by their side through it all.

Gause thanks everyone for their on-going support.

“I love y’all. Thank you for all the support. For me, and the class of 2020,” she said. “Keep on pushing us.”

Gause plans to attend Winston-Salem State University in the fall to study to become a nurse practitioner.

Her dream job is to deliver babies.