Seniors in Charles Co. may lose out on in-person graduation due to rain

UPDATE: Charles County Public School graduation occurred at Regency Furniture Stadium on June 3. Rain did not interfere with any of the school system’s original graduation plans.

After a year of virtual learning away from friends and teachers, students from two high schools in Charles County, Maryland, may not be able to get the graduation experience they were expecting Thursday.

The plan is for North Point High School and McDonough High school seniors to receive their diplomas at Regency Furniture Stadium with friends and family in attendance, like all other county school seniors. But forecasts suggest that it could be rained out, causing both schools to hold a drive-thru graduation in the school parking lots next week on June 9.

“We pull up to our school, walk a stage and leave in small groups. No speeches, no senior friends,” said North Point High School senior Sarah Sbordone. “It just sort of dampens graduation.”

This was not the first rain plan the county school system proposed.

“They decided originally that it would be at St. Charles High School,” Tristan Jacobs, a senior at North Point High, told WTOP. “All the graduates would be in the gym and it would be livestreamed.”

The family ticket allotment would have gone from three to two, and families would be in designated classrooms watching the ceremony, Jacobs said.

Sbordone created a petition calling for the school board to change the rain plans from the drive-thru graduation to the livestreamed graduation at St. Charles High, or plan another event. Hundreds have already signed it.

“We’ve watched so many of our friends from other schools walk the stage and the possibility that we may not is very disheartening,” Sbordone said.

June 3 marks the last day of graduations in Charles County; none of the other days have been rained out.

According to a news release from the school system, cancellation decisions will be made roughly three hours before the ceremonies. Students at Maurice J. McDonough High School will discover whether their 9 a.m. graduation is canceled by 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning. North Point High School will find out whether their 1 p.m. graduation is still on by 10 a.m.

WTOP talked with several students from these high schools and the sentiment was similar.

“It is very disappointing considering the fact that we didn’t get any of the other senior experiences like homecoming or football season.” said Michaeyla Coffman, from North Point. “The only thing we were offered was an in-person graduation, and now we are not even being offered that if it rains.”

WTOP has asked Charles County Public Schools for comment.

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Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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