"The Energy During the Celebration Was Electric!"
Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy held its drive-through graduation on Sunday June 14.
For more pictures, go to Your Permanent Record.
By Nora Baker
Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy
JUNE 22, 2020 - Our staff worked very passionately to ensure students had a memorable graduation experience. They facilitated yard signs with student first names and pictures so that neighbors, family and friends could continue to celebrate their accomplishments.
Teachers, the school and the community donated post-graduate gifts which were enclosed in personalized drawstring bags. The alumni association and Crosby Scholars representative came out to also give gifts and to celebrate with students.
Our Graduation Drive-Through proceeded as follows: Seniors exited their vehicle at the center steps leading to the main entrance of the school. Ms. Karen Wells, our Teacher of the Year, announced their names. Students were given a custom-made mask and then went down to a Phoenix backdrop to take pictures in their cap and gown. Seniors walked across the stage, received their diploma covers from Ms. Nora Baker, interim principal and then went to pick up their diploma and gifts to the right of the stage. Seniors got back into their vehicles via the steps closest to the auditorium.
I am so proud that 100% of our seniors graduated this year. I was told that some of these students are first generation to graduate from high school. The pride in that accomplishment was evident in the number of cars and even a bus that came out to take pictures of the graduates. Because we made such a big deal of their graduation itself, it will have a lasting impression on the graduates; cementing the fact that from beginning to end, the faculty and staff of Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy cared about the students and encourages them to be productive citizens and to further their education.
Donna Minor, whose son Stephen was Valedictorian for Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy, summed it up with much gratitude and appreciation:
“I am a parent of a high school senior. Considering how this school year ended due to Covid-19, we were all impacted by the non-traditional virtual graduations, as well as, the drive through diploma pick-ups. We knew there was nothing we could change about the hand we had been dealt, so we decided to make the best of this monumental occasion, and just go with the flow!”
“All things considered, I was very pleased with the drive-through graduation! My husband stated, ‘I was pleasantly surprised, and the atmosphere and energy during the celebration was electric!’”
“It was obvious that the staff spent much time thinking through every single detail to ensure this experience was very special for our seniors. Mission accomplished!!! Our son was so excited, and the smile that remained on his face confirmed that he, too, appreciated the opportunity to walk across the stage and receive his diploma despite the restrictions we forced to adhere to with limited family present.”
“I viewed many ‘drive-through’ graduations shared on Facebook as parents across the world celebrated their seniors during these unprecedented times. Nothing compared to what our seniors received and experienced on North Cameron Avenue! I can honestly say that Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy did it ‘BIG’ for our senior send offs, and for that we say. ‘Thank You!!!’”
Mrs. LaVonda Floyd, Lead Secretary who has worked at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy for 10 years, was able to reflect on how she thought students were affected by the drive-through:
“I feel the students were affected negatively and positively. The negative effect was that they could only have the family members who could fit into two cars to attend the drive-through. Students who come from a large family were limited to the number of family members who could share in the joyous occasion. The positive affect was that the seniors were still able to have a graduation celebration to commemorate the beginning of adulthood and true independence. The end of high school signifies the beginning of several goals that we set for ourselves.”