Students, parents start petitions to allow graduation ceremonies for Dare senior classes

Manteo High School’s class of 2019 celebrates their graduation at Waterside Theatre on June 17. [photo courtesy DCS/Instagram]

A day after Dare County Schools Superintendent John Farrelly announced there would be no traditional graduation ceremonies this year, petitions have gone up rallying support for commencement exercises for First Flight and Manteo high schools.

A petition to allow First Flight High School seniors had 447 signatures Tuesday afternoon, while a similar petition for Manteo High School had 505 signatures.

Click here to read the First Flight petition and here for the Manteo petition.

“Graduating is the reason we work hard throughout every school year. This class of 2020 was filled with kids with big dreams, talents, and many more!” wrote Manteo petition organizer Davien Flowers. “This past school year did not finish how we wanted it to, but one of the most important days in our life is high school graduation day.”

The county’s high schools will offer free portrait and videos to seniors begin given there diplomas, but due to social distancing requirements, will not hold traditional graduation ceremonies, Farrelly announced Monday.

A survey of parents and seniors offered other options to hold commencements, including later dates this summer or drive-through ceremonies. But Farrelly said holding ceremonies isn’t possible under current local, state and federal guidelines.

In the First Flight High School petition, organizer Kim Folds said the school surveys “fell on deaf ears.”

“These students have worked hard for 13 years and deserve the opportunity to feel the honor of graduating as a community. FFHS traditionally has an outdoor ceremony which has already laid the groundwork for the ceremony to go forward,” she wrote. “Dare County has opened up to allow out of state homeowners and soon visitors to come into the county. Businesses such as Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe’s have parking lots packed full from open to close. There is no reasonable reason that the 2020 graduating class cannot walk while maintains a 6 foot distance which is more than what is happening within local businesses.”

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