FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A local owner of several McDonald’s restaurants will hold a virtual graduation ceremony for employees unable to walk the stage this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
John Parker owns seven Mcdonald’s in the Fayetteville area. He said 35 of his employees are graduating from college and high school and he hates that they can’t have a normal send off so this is one way to celebrate all of their accomplishments.
“These are difficult times. We feel badly for these seniors. They’ve worked to have the opportunity to enjoy this occasion and this is something they wouldn’t have the opportunity to do otherwise,” Parker said.
The graduation ceremony will happen on Zoom video chat around 11 a.m. on Thursday. Graduates will wear their caps and gowns and tell everyone where they are headed next.
“One of the reasons that this came about was we were overhearing them talk about in restaurants about how disappointing this was that they weren’t going to have the opportunity to walk and so that’s what really sparked the interest for this event,” said Parker.
Several of the graduates are going to college and have big plans.
“We’ve got biology majors, business majors, and elementary majors. We’ve got some folks going into the military and some will continue and go to college,” Parker said.
Many of the employees have been working for Parker for a long time. Some of them will continue working at McDonald’s to try and earn tuition assistance which can be up to $10,000.
Thursday’s virtual graduation will include a reception and commencement speech.
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