Carter County Seniors to graduate at drive-in

Published 5:16 pm Friday, May 8, 2020

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Seniors of Carter County Schools will be graduating on the big screen; by graduating at a drive-in.
The announcement comes Friday after weeks of talks in regards to how students could be celebrated, while social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kevin Ward, director of schools, described the uniqueness of this send-off.
“We have a unique opportunity in Carter County with this drive-in that has been part of the community for so long,” he said. “We’re very thankful to have this location and that owner Andy Wetzel is working with us to help provide commencement for our seniors.”
The idea for the drive-in came as it is an area where everyone can follow social distancing guidelines, but also have a traditional ceremony.
Each of the county’s four high schools will have their own ceremony on a separate day, all at 8 p.m. The dates are as follows:
Unaka High School, May 26
Hampton High School, May 28
Cloudland High School, June 2
Happy Valley High School, June 4
To continue following social distancing guidelines, one car per senior will be allowed at the venue, however the number of people in a vehicle has no limit.
“Obviously, someone can’t be in a pick-up truck with a bed full of people,” said Jerri Beth Nave, Federal Programs & Testing Director. “But if you have a seven-passenger vehicle, then there can be six people and the student. This is up to each family.”
All four high schools will have similar ceremonies with recognition of students, parking, stage, photos being taken, sound, and students receiving diplomas. Schools are finalizing videos to be shown. Any student who hasn’t turned in photos to be included should send those to staff at their schools as soon as possible. Details regarding things like parking will be announced by the individual schools.
“We want seniors to know that they are unique,” said Ward. ”We are living through something that is unprecedented. We realize their last year of school has been disappointing in many ways. They’ve not had sports, no proms, no celebrations together. But when this is over we hope they realize that they’ve become stronger because of it. They will be the class that is remembered. Theirs will be the commencement ceremonies that are talked about for years to come because of that uniqueness.”
For the latest updates on Carter County Schools, go to, or check out their Facebook page.

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