Virginia high school holds makeshift graduation ceremony

Virginia high school holds makeshift graduation ceremony

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - At first, Louisa County High School senior Alex Washington thought maybe his class’ graduation ceremony wasn’t going to happen in the midst of the pandemic.

Louisa County High School was a very important part of the varsity athlete’s life, and so he was ecstatic when he realized that he would be getting some sort of procession.

“We’re probably the only class who gets to do this, so why not enjoy it?” he said.

He ended up being one of the 351 seniors at Louisa County High getting their diplomas in a barebones ceremony, which took place over the course of five days.

“We knew we weren’t able to give our Class of 2020 a traditional graduation, but what we did know is that we need to give them something special,” said Superintendent Doug Straley.

The district reached out to the community for help in putting it all together, and that is where Sarah Peyton comes in. By day, she’s a supervisor at Dominion Energy, but in her spare time, she’s a photographer.

She joined a team of others from the community to help out her alma mater.

“I got emotional to see some of it because for these kids, this is the biggest event in their lives thus far, and to know that I got to contribute to that was pretty awesome," Peyton said.

And so all 351 graduating seniors got that once-in-a-lifetime ceremony documented, as it should be.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen at all, and when they made that announcement that they were going to do it this way, I was like ‘Oh, this is going to be interesting,' but it turned out really well,” said Alexander’s father, Demetrius Washington.

Alex’s mother, Jacqueline, describes almost being brought to tears during the ceremony.

"You did want to get weepy because you get to hear your child’s name, you get to see them go across the stage,” she said.

The superintendent says the graduating seniors won’t actually be certified graduates until the originally planned date of May 16, but Washington says that’s OK - as long as his family gets to share those moments with him.

“Knowing that all the hard work they put in isn’t for nothing - and we still get the big send-off! Just in a different way,” he added.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.