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Graduation plans finalized for Friday

WED. | 06-2-21 | NEWS

     The Pitt County School (PCS) Board recently announced that Rose graduation will be held on Friday, June 4 at 2 p.m. at East Carolina University's (ECU) Minges Coliseum with doors opening at 1 p.m. for guests. Safety protocols will be in place and enforced by both ECU and Pitt County Schools (PCS) personnel. All attendees will be required to go through a metal detector and wear a mask and the facility will be cleaned between each ceremony.

     “I think the whole board was very much wanting more than what we had last year,” PCS Board Member Melinda Fagundus said. “We were very happy with what we were able to pull off for the senior class,... but I just feel like it was important this year to be sure that the entire senior class was together, if we could do it.” 

     Last year, Rose held two ceremonies on the football field, splitting the class of 2020 in two by alphabet. This year, the recommendations and COVID-19 rates had changed significantly enough that an indoor graduation ceremony with the whole class of 2021 was possible.

     “We always run our plans by the county health director, Dr. Silvernail, and he approved of those [plans] and then of course if it passed the test with ECU and they allowed it, then

Graphics by Tierney Reardon

we were good,” PCS Board Member Anna Barrett Smith said. “It was never a question of whether we were going to have graduation, we just had to wait longer than we would’ve liked to put plans in place just waiting for the various stakeholders.”

     It was decided that each senior would be given four tickets and each junior marshal would be given two tickets. These were distributed at the end of graduation practice on Tuesday, June 1. Seating will be arranged so that families will be seated together in assigned pods.  

     “In the past, students might sell their tickets, but this year it won’t work because they have to sit with family,” school counselor Christa Monroe said.

     Initially, several different options were considered including holding graduation outside at the individual schools like last year’s graduation.

     “We did get great feedback from having the graduations at the individual schools,” Smith said. “It was really meaningful to be able to graduate on the football fields.”  

     While this option was considered, there were concerns with making additional plans for weather and with the process of coordinating all of the graduations. 

     “What we’ve reminded people, and they’ve been very receptive, is that when you’re trying to put on seven ... graduations that there’s a lot more to it than people typically think and that has led us back to Minges,” Smith said. “Even though it’s not as personal, it has sort of become a hallmark of Pitt County graduations.” 

     Holding all Pitt County graduation ceremonies at Minges not only ensures that graduates from each school are given the same recognition, but makes it more convenient for school board members who make an effort to attend all of the ceremonies. PCS pays to rent the facility and ECU has been working closely with school officials to make sure that the facility is ready. 

     “They are always wonderful to work with,” Smith said. “As long as they felt they could justify the use of the facility with the numbers that we’re talking about then they were more than happy for us to use their facility.”

     Seating on the floor will be limited to graduates and junior marshals in order to maintain social distancing, preventing either the band or the chorus from performing. Instead, recorded music will be played through the loudspeakers. The presentation of colors, however, will be happening live. 

     “We’re so proud of the graduating class,” Smith said. “The biggest privilege of being on the board is being able to be there in-person and see you guys receive the recognition that you’ve worked really hard for.”

     Those unable to attend the graduation ceremony in-person can access the live-stream at

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