RECONSIDER decision for 2020 Cherokee County School District Graduations

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RECONSIDER decision for 2020 Cherokee County School District Graduations

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daisy olaya started this petition to Superintendent of the Cherokee County School District Dr. Brian V. Hightower

Dr. Hightower has prohibited the attendance of thousands of families to their child’s once-in-lifetime high school graduation.

We all understand the world is in a pandemic. However, with so many districts around us in Georgia being able to offer graduation ceremonies in the presence of family members, we feel as though Cherokee County has gone the easy route with forbidding anyone other than students and teachers from attending. Many schools have been able to host true graduations with social distancing guidelines and face mask requirements/recommendations in place.

Cobb County was able to promise each student FOUR tickets per student and they are the second largest district in Georgia. Other counties have successfully executed graduations in football stadiums, parking lots, large venues, just about anywhere outdoors/indoors and/or by limiting tickets. 

First Baptist of Woodstock is a church that can host 7,500 people at once. If each school has a 400/500/600 student senior class size, and with at least 2 people per student, that’s a maximum of 1,800 people in the venue. Plenty of extra seats in between each family for safety. 

Another concern would be the timing. Many parents will be driving to drop off their children at their graduation. For those living in northern Cherokee County, the drive down to Woodstock would be certainly a long one, with traffic being a major factor. How will parents be able to watch the live stream if they cannot make it home in time to view it? Especially since families are prohibited from being in the parking lot of First Baptist.

We believe there are better options. Most students have vowed to not even attend their graduation out of disappointment in their school district. 

This is the first graduation for many parents and the last one for even more. The senior class deserves more.

We are asking the school district to reconsider its decision on graduation for the Class of 2020 and to potentially AT LEAST allow two tickets per student to have loved ones celebrate their student’s 12 years of hard work. 


Superintendent Dr. Brian V. Hightower: Brian.Hightower@cherokeek12.net

Thank you for your support, 

A proud sister of a 2020 River Ridge High School graduate. 

Dr. Hightower’s message is below.

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Dear #CCSDfam,

As promised, and at the request of the majority of our graduating seniors and their parents, I postponed making a final decision on our graduation ceremonies plans until today.

We will hold official commencement ceremonies for our Class of 2020 following the schedule I previously announced and which is posted at https://bit.ly/CCSD2020

Unfortunately, these ceremonies only will be open to our graduating seniors and our staff members who have a role in the event. No additional family or guests will be permitted to attend. Our graduation ceremony host site, First Baptist Church of Woodstock, cannot accommodate the additional guests with the social-distancing required for a large gathering. Our graduates and staff will be distanced in their seating; masks will be encouraged, but not required. We would face the same dilemma if we moved the ceremonies to stadiums or another venue, but by continuing to use the church, we will be able to maintain the same quality ceremony as we have in the past and live stream the event, and we will not have to cancel due to inclement weather.

I know many family members and friends have looked forward to joining in this celebration. While you will not be able to attend in person, you will be able to watch the live stream of the event on the website at www.fbcw.org which also will be recorded.

Our high school Principals will be sending their graduates instructions about arrival and protocols; we will not be holding graduation practice.

I know our graduating seniors had hoped to see family and friends in the audience as they crossed the stage. Although this may not be how you envisioned these ceremonies to take place, we are committed to making it as special as possible considering the circumstances. We are proud of you, we enjoyed celebrating with you at our senior parades, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Thank you,

Dr. Brian V. Hightower
Superintendent of Schools

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