Wicomico County high school community preparing for graduation

WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. – As graduation season approaches, local schools are figuring out ways to make ceremonies as safe and special as possible. Both students and faculty tell 47ABC virtual ceremonies will leave bittersweet memories. “The most important thing to the students – as much as we want to believe it’s our speeches – it’s not that. They really want that feeling of walking across the stage and hearing their name announced and having their diploma cover,” said Mardela Middle and High School principal Liza Hastings.

Hastings says everyone in the Wicomico County Public schools community is feeling COVID-19’s impact on this year’s graduation ceremonies The ceremonies are scheduled to happen May 20th through May 22nd. Hastings tells 47ABC that the ceremonies could even pour over into a fourth day.

“Students and their families will be in a parked car. Each parking space will be numbered 1 through 10. There will be an administrator in the parking lot who will announce, you know, ‘family number 1’,” said Hastings. After students and their families get out of their car they’ll be guided towards a stage. Then they’ll receive their diploma cover, take a picture, and return to their cars. The school district says staff will be wearing masks and gloves, and placing each diploma on a table to practice social distancing.

Parkside High senior Michelangelo Collins says he’s excited to continue his journey to playing football at Shepherd University in the fall, but disappointed about not getting to celebrate with his friends and teachers. “It’s going to be weird because I won’t be able to see the whole gang, you know? Or see some of my friends from the past at graduation,” said Collins.

Collins tells 47ABC that after watching his older sister graduate, he was looking forward to sharing the excitement of his accomplishment with his fellow students. “I feel like you won’t be as shy because there’s nobody there, but it’s not the same feeling, because I remember when my sister was there it was a whole packed house everybody was clapping for you. You could feel good about yourself you know?” said Collins.

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