WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County high school principals have been planning virtual graduations for their seniors for weeks, and on Thursday, West Ashley High wrapped up their final day of video shooting.
“It’s really a massive undertaking, but from day one the district has been committed to recognizing seniors. So, they’re getting the job done," West Ashley High Principal Ryan Cumback said. "We’re making sure every student is recognized, making it look and feel as formal as we can make it given the unique circumstances we’ve been put in.”
Two photographers have been going to all Charleston County high schools recording different speeches. Two weeks ago, it was the principals. This week, it was the salutatorians and valedictorians.
“It’s definitely not what I expected," West Ashley High Valedictorian Matthew Krejci said. "It’s not as nerve racking since there aren’t as many people, but I would have definitely preferred to have it at a normal ceremony.”
The virtual graduations are set to be streamed on June 8 at 7 p.m., and during the event, every senior’s picture and their distinctions will be shown. Pre-recorded speeches from principals, teachers, and students will also air.
Krejci said he’s hoping to share a hard-learned lesson during his speech.
“I wanted to be valedictorian for as long as I know that title has existed, but the road to get there was definitely paved with a lot of sacrifices, not be to over dramatic," he said. "There was definitely clouded judgement, I think, on my part. I wanted to say to everyone listening to make sure you have your priorities straight, and you don’t let something like a title get in the way of your happiness.”
He, along with other valedictorians, will now also have the opportunity to address his classmates at an in-person graduation. At West Ashley High, they’ll be holding two different ceremonies on the football field on June 13. The first will be at 8 a.m. and the second one will be at 7 p.m.
“Each graduate will bring two guests with them," Cumback said. "We’ll have some remarks and maybe an award or two, and then students will walk across the formal stage to receive their diploma.”
More than a dozen other Charleston County high schools have also announced their own plans for in-person ceremonies. Those details can be found here.
Other county school districts have also announced plans for similar graduations. That information can be found here.