North Newton Class of 2019

(NCE FILE PHOTO/Cheri Shelhart)

The Class of 2019 flip their tassels after being pronounced official graduates on Sunday, June 2.

NEWTON COUNTY — Both commencement ceremonies for Newton County High Schools have been pushed back to July 5 with hope the seniors can experience a more traditional graduation experience.

Over the past couple of weeks, the schools had announced that they were going with drive-through graduations on the originally planned date of June 7. South Newton was going to have theirs at the fairgrounds, while North Newton was going to hold its ceremony at the school.

Plans for a drive-through commencement ceremony for North Newton seniors were announced Monday, May 18. The ceremony was scheduled for June 7, at the high school starting at 2 p.m.

However, that decision was changed Friday (May 22) morning as the administration team agreed to push the graduation ceremony back to July 5, at the football field starting at 2 p.m.

A survey was sent out to the seniors, and whatever the majority decided — June 7 or July 5 — the administration was going to go with.

On May 19, South Newton High School Principal Charles Huckstep announced that July 5 at 6 p.m. would be the new graduation date and time with the location being the football field, depending on the weather of course.

“The graduation ceremony would have been limited June 7, and we heard from both parents and students about wanting a more traditional graduation,” Huckstep told the Enterprise. “Our only choice to do that would be to move it back to July and hope we are in Stage 5 on the governor’s plan by then.”

The senior survey was sent out with 58 percent of the seniors responding. The graduation administrative team looked extensively at different dates and locations. After meeting for the final time, the team looked at Sunday, July 12, and Sunday, July 5. At the time the senior survey was sent, July 5 was not mentioned.

“Then we realized that several of our students would potentially be involved in the Newton County 4-H Fair on July 12,” stated Huckstep. “Therefore after careful consideration of July 5th and July 12th, it was determined that graduation 2020 will be on Sunday, July 5th at 6:00 p.m. The graduation administrative team all agreed on this date after much deliberation. Some seniors have not only excelled in school, but also in 4-H. We believe they deserve their recognition for their hard work in 4-H.”

In case the weather does not cooperate that day, both schools will conduct a drive-through ceremony.