PELL CITY -- Pell City Superintendent Dr. James Martin has announced the school system will hold its graduation ceremony June 5 at 7 p.m.
Martin said the decision came after discussions with both senior class officers and parents.
He said that due to the extended school year, there are some classes that will not have grades certified until May 29. Because these grades could affect class ranks, Martin said the senior class preferred to wait until all grades are in.
Martin said senior class officers also preferred to have one ceremony instead of two so all class members would graduate together.
He said seniors rejected the idea of two ceremonies despite the fact it would have allowed them to invite more family to graduation.
Martin said seniors will be provided six tickets for family to attend the ceremony, where they will sit in socially distanced sections in the football stadium bleachers. He said all stadium seating, both home and visitor stands, will be required to have enough room to make the social distancing work.
“We’re gonna social distance our seniors on the field. Even our officials are social distancing,” Martin said. “Because we are asking that of the family in the stands, by God, we better be doing it on the field.”
Martin said he was unsure if acting Principal Holly Costello would be shaking hands during the ceremony, but he said she would discuss the matter with the senior class to find something everyone is comfortable with.
He said the school would offer private ceremonies for any seniors who request one, much like St. Clair County announced it would last week.
Martin said seniors will have graduation practice the morning of June 4. Seniors will also parade down 19th Street from the high school to the city park, where they will have a social distanced cookout.
Martin and Assistant Superintendent Leah Stover admitted they are worried the parade may be interrupted by a train, but they said parents were excited about the idea of a parade.
Martin said he has been adamant since schools moved to distance learning that the high school would have a graduation ceremony, but he is happy that a more traditional ceremony is now possible.
“It's an opportunity for us to actually come together, even though it's a different type of setting than what I would love to have, but we get to come together and celebrate the accomplishments of these kids,” Martin said. “That's what I love about it. That's my favorite thing about it.”