‘It’s a big moment’: Gaston County will hold outdoor high school graduations in May

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Gaston County School officials announced high school graduation plans for 2021, saying most schools will have outdoor ceremonies at the end of May.

Each school will hold two ceremonies the night of May 28 -- one at 5:30 p.m. for students who have been attending class on Mondays and Tuesdays, and another at 8 p.m. for Thursday/Friday students.

“I really didn’t expect it just with everything’s going on,” said Bessemer City High School senior Jaida Marlow.

Families and friends who attend the first ceremony will be required to leave school grounds immediately after it ends to allow for cleaning, and for the second ceremony’s attendees to arrive.

“As long as I am getting it, I’m fine with it,” Marlow said. “If you have to spread us all 6 feet apart and we’re covering the whole football field, that’s fine with me.”

Only Group A names will be read for the first ceremony, and Group B names for the second, but all students are expected to be there the whole time.

Hunter Huss senior Autumn Lynch is happy she’ll get to graduate with her friends.

“I’m glad I get to graduate with my class,” Lynch said. “My mom facetimed me and was so happy about it.”

Marlow said she is looking forward to putting on her cap gown.

“That’s I think the most exciting thing when you’re going through the 4 years you’re always thinking about wow, in 4 years, 3, 2 years, now 2 months, I’m going to be sitting there fixing my cap on the right way I want it,” Marlow said. “It’s a big moment.”

A full list of graduation dates for Gaston County’s high schools is below:

May 20
  • Gaston Early College
May 26
  • Gaston Virtual Academy
  • Warlick High School
  • Webb High School
May 28 (Rain date: May 29)
  • Ashbrook High School
  • Bessemer City High School
  • Cherryville High School
  • East Gaston High School
  • Forestview High School
  • Highland High School (exploring venue other than their stadium because of size)
  • Hunter Huss High School
  • North Gaston High School
  • South Point High School
  • Stuart W. Cramer High School