‘But we persevered’: After being canceled due to pandemic, Cumberland County high school graduations to be in-person

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Cumberland County Schools is hosting high school graduation ceremonies back at the Crown Complex after they were canceled there last year due to COVID-19.

About 3,500 students are expected to receive their diplomas during various ceremonies throughout the week.

Up to four people per student are allowed to attend, down just one from the usual allotment of five tickets per student.

The ceremonies are split into groups to limit the number of people inside at one time.

Everyone is required to practice social distancing and wear a mask.

Westover High School students graduated on Monday.

“These young people have demonstrated if you want to do it – you can do it,” said Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr.

Full-time remote learning for the Class of 2021 started in the spring of their junior year and continued throughout most of this year.

“Having classes online was the most challenging part,” said Westover High School Salutatorian Yulianny Marte Moran. “I feel like a lot of us struggled, and it was very hard, but we persevered.”

Persevering through a challenging year paid off for D’Marco Dunn, who is now headed to play basketball for the University of North Carolina.  

“A month ago we didn’t know if we were going to have a graduation, so to walk across the stage, have our whole class here, it means a lot really,” Dunn said.

The district is streaming each ceremony online for anyone who can’t attend in person.

“We didn’t know if we were going to be able to have this opportunity like other classes, because I know last year they didn’t get this opportunity, so it’s a privilege,” Bella Jones-Gonzales said.

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