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South Boston News / May 21, 2020
Plans are set for the “Comets in Cars” graduation event Saturday at 9 a.m. at Halifax County High School as outgoing seniors prepare to receive their diplomas following a spring semester that was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.

To maintain social distancing, the high school administration opted to hold a drive-thru graduation event with students and families driving up to a stage where diploma covers will be handed out. The drive-thru graduation is one of a limited number of options for honoring departing students that the Virginia Department of Education will allow.

HCHS Principal Michael Lewis, in a letter to seniors, noted that “[t]his very difficult decision was made with the safety of our students, staff, families and community in mind.” It also will be a chance to see off graduates on the long-scheduled date for commencement, May 23.

“We plan to hold a traditional, in-person graduation ceremony as soon as it is safe to do so, and we encourage participation in both events,” Lewis wrote to students and their families.

Cars will be allowed to proceed in groups from Halifax County Middle School to the High School Circle. There will be no other route of access to the stage that will be set up in front of HCHS.

After diploma covers are received, students may leave the school or park in the student parking area if they wish to wait for the official conferment of diplomas. The student parking lot will be secured by staff and the South Boston Police Department. Students will be required to stay in their vehicles due to social distancing rules.

Comets in Cars will kick off at 9 a.m. with the welcome, Pledge of Allegiance, national anthem, recognition of graduates, announcement of the salutatorian and valedictorian, followed by the top ten graduates.

There is a limit of one car per senior, and vehicles have been scheduled for arrival on a staggered basis, 10-20 minutes apart, with the last set of vehicles asked to show up by 10:35 a.m.

Principal Lewis added, “I hope one day we can come back and have full-scale graduation with the family presence. We are taking this opportunity to celebrate with the students while they are here to cross our stage while at Halifax County High School.”

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