Horry County seniors petition against virtual graduation

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County seniors are responding to the district’s decision to hold graduation virtually. A North Myrtle Beach senior started the petition to let Horry County seniors graduate.

Seniors won’t be having a traditional ceremony. Following Governor McMaster’s decision to close schools for the rest of the school year, the Horry County School District Superintendent announced on Wednesday the nine high schools will be holding graduation virtually.

Many seniors and parents disagree and have signed a petition in response.

“This is when you get to the best parts of your senior year,” Jennings Hall, a North Myrtle Beach High School student who started the petition said.

Thirteen years of accomplishment looked like state championships, academic awards, and dedicated school spirit for Jennings Hall. Each school year led closer to a special graduation.

“It’s hard to see your child get a little sad and depressed because they are not that kind of child and it just breaks your heart when you see your child not get to do their last little hoorah of high school,” Jennifer Hall, North Myrtle Beach senior parent said.

The governor’s announcement to extend school closure was followed by the superintendent’s graduation decision the same day. On behalf of her senior class, Jennings created the petition with a goal of 1,500 signatures in hopes for reconsideration. The petition now reaches over 1,800.

“We have seen so many good ways for students to be able to do it and for the decision to be made in April was disheartening,” Jennings said.

Senior group chats are creating alternative ways to graduate. Their proposals include football field ceremonies, graduating while wearing masks, or holding multiple graduations in small groups are all ideas students have brought up. Seniors say they’ll follow any rule, but want to walk across the stage.

“Wear the prom dress to the football field, wear your cap and gown over your prom dress and tuxedos and then let them graduate on the field six feet apart,” Jennifer said.

Parents are getting together through Zoom calls to brainstorm and help their seniors make the best out of a bad situation.

“This memory we have been waiting for especially starting freshman year has been taken away from us this quickly,” Jennings said.

On Thursday night the Horry County School Board posted this statement:

After a great deal of discussion by the Board this evening we have agreed to the following statement in light of concerns for our graduates of the Class of 2020.

HCS is committed to celebrating the Class of 2020. The HCS Board, the District and school leaders appreciate all the seniors and parents who reached out to us. Graduation options and suggestions similar to those being discussed across the country will be taken into consideration. Options include, but are not limited to, the use of football stadiums, alternate facilities, as well as the possible scheduling of an in-person ceremony at a later date. We are all committed to finding a satisfactory resolution in the upcoming weeks.

Click here for more details about the petition or to read reasons students and parents think seniors should have a graduation. 

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