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Leon County seniors await decision on graduation ceremonies amid COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 6:24 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 18:24:02-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — For the Class of 2020, it's the end of an academic era culminating in graduation.

But this year, with students out of the classroom, many seniors are left wondering just how will they get their diploma.

Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna says those seniors will get their moment, just in a different way.

COVID-19 has altered school schedules, canceled proms and, likely, some graduation ceremonies.

But one thing Hanna is still fighting for is giving his 2020 seniors a proper send off.

"It kind of hit me hard," said Joshua Yarbrough, a senior student athlete at Godby High School.

Like most seniors in Florida, Yarbrough was shocked the activities he was most looking forward to were canceled.

"Grad bash, senior picnic, we don't know if graduation's canceled, you know prom," said Yarbrough. "It's a lot."

Hanna says graduation for his senior class has been a top priority for him since the pandemic began.

Although it may not be traditional pomp and circumstances he assures seniors and families something safe is in the works.

"I have some really big plans that I'm going to hopefully announce in the next week or so, but that's all determined by our seniors doing what they need to do to get to the finish line," said Hanna.

One option: A drive in ceremony.

"I've reached out to the Civic Center and some other people about having a drive in ceremony," Hanna said. "I'm really excited about it."

Yarbrough's mom, Adrienne Tankard, says this gives her hope about her son's big day.

"Parents, we really want that but you know at the end of the day, I'd much rather be safe than to put others at risk because of a graduation."

Superintendent Hanna says they'll only a do a drive-thru if the Department of Health approves it.

Meanwhile, the district is working on a way to get their seniors caps and gowns as soon as possible.