Laney High School seniors discuss abnormal school year on graduation day

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s been an extremely abnormal senior year for the class of 2020. For those at Laney High School in New Hanover County, it’s officially come to an end.

“I’m just happy to be done and excited that I’m here,” said graduate Madison Phair.

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After months of schooling from home and missing milestones like senior prom, the class of 2020 got to experience at least one rite of passage: graduation.

“It was nice to see my friends again, nice to see all the high school friends probably for the last time before they go to college or before they go off,” said graduate Marcus Mondragon.

The choice to hold a drive-in commencement due to COVID-19 concerns drew criticism from many, with more than 3,500 signatures on a petition against it. However students WWAY spoke to seemed pleased with the ceremony.



“I got to walk around and just see my friends, I didn’t have to sit down in a chair the whole time,” said graduate Kalaiah Sims.

Many students struggled with being stuck at home during COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s very awkward to just be at home all the time, 24/7, you can’t do anything really,” Sims said.

However, Phair says she’s been in and out of quarantine for the past three years.

“I have sickle cell, so I had been in and out of the hospital from my freshman year all the way to my senior year,” Phair said. “So I’m just really glad that I got to finish and got to see my friends.”

Now it’s time for these 2020 graduates to look ahead to the fall.

“I’m trying to go into the Coast Guard,” Mondragon said.

“I’m going to North Carolina A&T,” Sims said.

“I’m actually going to take a well deserved break,” Phair said.

Ashley High School’s graduation is Thursday. The Career Readiness Academy, Wilmington Early College, and Isaac Bear all graduate Friday.