By Harley Nefe
Avery County High School held a drive-thru graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 off campus on May 29, which began at 11 a.m. at MacRae Meadows near Grandfather Mountain.
This setting is a first for the school’s history of 51 years due to the safety measures and North Carolina’s social distancing guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are 112 graduating seniors of Avery County High School, and each student was allowed to bring two normal passenger vehicles of guests including friends and family.
Students were given two numbered cards that were their order for graduation and were displayed in their cars, which some people chose to decorate.
The seniors were divided into eight groups of about 14 students and given specific times to arrive to navigate the roads.
Students and their families arrived at the Newland Town Square at their respected times, where deputies and volunteers were there to direct them and escort them to McRae Meadows, where there was a stage set up.
Seniors departed their cars before their families approached the stage area. Attendants were present to assist and to line them up while being spaced out. Families pulled forward in their cars as their senior prepared to walk across the stage.
Regina Barrier, Avery County Teacher of the Year, read each student’s accomplishments and then instructed students to turn their tassel from right to left.
Diploma folders were placed on a table for the graduate to pick up.
The superintendent Dan Brigman, principal Phillip Little and assistant principal Kimberly Coleman were on and near the stage as spacing allowed and gave verbal congratulations.
Once the students crossed the stage, they were declared Avery County High School graduates.
A professional photographer and videographer were also present to capture the event for families. Once the students were off the stage, the photographer took pictures of each senior, and then the seniors rejoined their families to depart.
Photos by Ken Ketchie