COVINGTON — Hundreds of Newton County School System high school seniors will graduate this Saturday in ceremonies far different from what they could have anticipated on the first day of school last August.

Instead of processing to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” at Springfield Baptist Church and hearing the shouts from supporters as their names are called, they will be watching recorded ceremonies on NCSS YouTube.

At the school board’s May 12 meeting, Newton County School Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey said the virtual ceremonies were recorded earlier this month, complete with speeches from each school’s valedictorian and salutatorian. Fuhrey commented on the difficulties of a graduation season immeasurably altered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the students’ resilience.

“They actually captured those words and said ‘we’re not happy about the way things have ended, but we know there are more and better things ahead of us,’” said Fuhrey.

The school system planned a number of events to help seniors mark their final days as high school students.

“We want our kids to know without a shadow of a doubt they are our primary concern, they are very important to us,” said Fuhrey. “We want their senior experience, even over these last 10 days or so, to be something that will be a time to remember.”

Saturday’s virtual graduation ceremonies will be available for viewing as follows:

• Eastside High School - beginning at 11 a.m.

• Newton High School - beginning at 1 p.m.

• Alcovy High School - beginning at 3 p.m.

All virtual ceremonies will be available at NCSS YouTube.

The school system is also planning in-person graduation ceremonies on Aug. 1 at times to be announced at a later date. If the August commencement ceremonies cannot be held due to continued health concerns, ceremonies will be held on Dec. 19 at the individual schools.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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