GASTONIA, N.C. – Graduation for Gaston County Schools is Friday, May 26, and ten high schools will conduct ceremonies that day to present diplomas to the Class of 2023. This year, more than 2,000 seniors will graduate from Gaston County Schools.
High school graduation is a well-planned, formal ceremony intended to highlight the seniors in the Class of 2023 as each student receives his or her diploma.
Ashbrook, Bessemer City, Cherryville, Stuart W. Cramer, East Gaston, Forestview, Highland, Hunter Huss, North Gaston, and South Point will hold graduation on Friday, May 26 at 6 p.m. The ceremonies will be held outdoors in the stadium with the exception of Highland and North Gaston – the Highland ceremony will be held in the school’s auditorium, and the North Gaston ceremony will be held in the school’s gymnasium. In the event of inclement weather, the outdoor ceremonies will be held indoors.
In addition to ceremonies at the 10 traditional high schools, ceremonies will be held for three other schools with a graduating class.
Graduation exercises for the Gaston Virtual Academy, Webb Street School, and Warlick Academy took place on Wednesday, May 24. The Virtual Academy ceremony was at 9 a.m. at the Gastonia Conference Center. The Webb Street ceremony was at 11:30 a.m. in the school’s gymnasium, and the Warlick ceremony was at 2 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium.
The Gaston Early College High School has conducted its graduation already. The ceremony was held on Thursday, May 18 in the Myers Center Auditorium at Gaston College in Dallas.
Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker stated, “Graduation is a special time for our seniors in the Class of 2023 to reflect on their achievements in academics, athletics, the fine arts, extracurricular activities, and other areas. It also is a time for our graduating seniors to look forward to a bright and promising future.”
Dr. Booker added, “The Board of Education joins me in congratulating our graduates in the Class of 2023 and wishing them much success as they begin a new and exciting phase in life.”
Tickets for Graduation: Each school will communicate with students/families about the number of graduation entry tickets that will be allotted for each senior. Anyone with questions about tickets should contact the school office.
Safety at Graduation: All high schools have a comprehensive safety plan for graduation, and school officials have spent time working with local law enforcement to ensure that graduation is an enjoyable experience for everyone in attendance. To ensure safety, the following procedures will be in place:
- Each school will have additional security personnel – a police presence will be noticeable on campus.
- Attendees should arrive early and be prepared to stand in line to enter the ceremony.
- Metal detectors (walk-through units and hand-held wands) will be used. Everyone at graduation, including students, parents, relatives, school personnel, and guests, will be subject to metal detection screening.
- Attendees should not bring any bags (purses, handbags, bookbags, etc.) to graduation.
- Traffic congestion is likely near the high schools beginning one hour before the start of graduation. Attendees should plan accordingly to allow enough time for parking and entering the ceremony.
- Being vigilant is important. Anyone who sees or is aware of suspicious activity at graduation should contact a school official or law enforcement immediately.
Special Guests: Each graduation ceremony will have its share of speakers and special guests. Traditionally, each school’s valedictorian and salutatorian shares remarks as does the principal and other student representatives.
Board of Education members are among the guests on hand to congratulate the graduating guests for ceremonies on May 26:
- Ashbrook: Dot Guthrie, Gastonia Township
- Bessemer City: Brent Moore, Crowders Mountain Township
- Cherryville: Robbie Lovelace, Cherryville Township, and A.M. Stephens III, Riverbend Township
- Stuart W. Cramer: Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker and Associate Superintendent Melissa Balknight
- East Gaston: Associate Superintendent Gary Hoskins
- Forestview: Tod Kinlaw, South Point Township
- Highland: Lee Dedmon, Gastonia Township
- Hunter Huss: Jeff Ramsey, Chairman, At-Large Member
- North Gaston: Josh Crisp, Dallas Township
- South Point: Dot Cherry, Vice Chairman, At-Large Member
All Board of Education members were invited to attend the Gaston Virtual Academy, Warlick Academy, and Webb Street School graduation ceremonies on May 24.