Kannapolis high school unveils special graduation ceremony plan for seniors

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Posting photos of high school senior pictures, principals delivering yard signs, and hosting parades –- all have been done in an effort to make sure the 2020 senior class has its special moment.

Channel 9 has learned one local school will make sure every student gets the graduation moment they’ve worked so hard for.

>> Anchor Susanna Black went to Kannapolis, where A.L. Brown High School has a very special plan. Watch the video at the top of this webpage to see her story.

Leaders at A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis have created a plan that will allow students to walk across the stage to receive their diploma, surrounded by their families, while making sure health and safety precautions are taken.

"Graduation is the most important day of the year," Principal Angelo DelliSanti said. "It's what they've worked 13 years for, it's why we do what we do and trying to come up with an alternative is pretty difficult. I think most of the people understand that we couldn't do a normal graduation and I think people are really appreciative."

Before graduation day, each student will be given a separate time slot to come to the school's auditorium in their cap and gown. The Cabarrus Health Alliance will screen every student for any COVID-19 symptoms, and once they're clear, they'll enter the empty auditorium to walk across the stage and receive their sanitized diploma from Principal DelliSanti.

Each moment will be captured by a video crew and put together into a single video to air on graduation day for the class of 2020 to watch from home.

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The video will even include the Pledge of Allegiance and an address from a faculty member chosen by students.

"I am going to ask them to rise and confer their diplomas on them and then they can toss their cap in the air and change their tassel," DelliSanti explained.

Seniors like Koda Lemelin and Kendall Lee said they are thankful for the opportunity to walk across the graduation stage, and it's a memory they'll cherish.

"I was amazed by this plan," Lee said. "I'm going to look at [the video] and then I’m going to toss my cap in the air as I would if I was at the actual school walking across the stage and receiving my diploma. I'm just going to make the best out of my situation that I can possibly make."

"It's a good way to make sure you still get to have that special moment even though we can't all be together sharing it," Lemelin said. "I'm going to be in my living room and my mom told me she's going to make me wear my cap and gown."

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The video will air on several social media platforms including YouTube and Facebook.

A.L. Brown leaders ask that students use the hashtag #BEAWONDER2020 on any graduation-related posts so the community can see them all in one place.

DelliSanti also added that while seniors are still expected to pay any outstanding fees, he understands that there are families who will need financial help, and he is willing to work with anyone who needs it.

“What I can guarantee is no student won’t walk because of unpaid fees,” he said.