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story.lead_photo.caption South Callaway's 2019 high school graduates participate in the annual ceremony last May. In response to COVID-19, many local schools are opting for outside graduation ceremonies. File photo Photo by Fulton Sun file photo

As the school year comes to a close, Callaway County high schools are planning in-person graduation celebrations.

The North Callaway Board of education met Thursday night over video to discuss their plans. Like the other districts, graduation will be held outside with social distancing precautions in place on May 21.

"Personally, I think this is the best way for us to respect our seniors to give them at least some of that due credit that they're very much deserving of and to give them some closure on their home field as they're going out the door to go lead some hopefully pretty awesome lives," North Callaway High School principal Brian Jobe said.

The plan for North Callaway High School is based on parent and student feedback.

"We sent out a survey and had pretty resounding results," Jobe said.

Jobe told the board that families and seniors will be spaced out and a livestream will be set up for those unable to attend.

North Callaway will hold eighth-grade celebrations the week after the high school graduation. Auxvasse and Williamsburg Elementary will hold their celebrations on May 27, while the Hatton-McCredie Elementary celebration is scheduled for May 28.

"I appreciate all the effort that's gone into it because I think it's going to be really good for these kiddos," board member Sandy Lavy said.

Last week, New Bloomfield High School announced their three-stage ceremony, which is scheduled for May 15.

The South Callaway ceremony is scheduled for June 13 at the South Callaway Athletic Complex. Graduates will be able to invite 10 guests to fill a row of bleachers.

The ceremony will be streamed and each graduate will receive a recording to keep.

Administration at Fulton High School was working on a plan as well — according to a parent newsletter, a traditional graduation ceremony is being planned for June 19 at the football stadium. A senior celebration parade is also being planned.

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