• Atlanta Northcutt

Van Buren County's High School Prom and Graduation Undergo Changes Due to COVID-19

By: Atlanta Northcutt --- Reporter for the Southern Standard

COVID-19 has caused many changes in Van Buren County’s 2020 high school prom and graduation.


Van Buren County High School will not be holding a prom this year due to the coronavirus resulting in great disappointment from students.


However, Van Buren’s graduation, which has a unique twist, will experience several changes, but continue to hold the traditional “march for seniors” the school’s ceremony is known for. Graduation will take place Saturday, June 6 instead of the annual date of May 15.


The difference in Van Buren’s ceremony compared to other counties is the fact juniors are also involved to perform the “march for seniors,” where they light the pathway for the graduates.


“The high school gym is typically packed without a seat in the house for graduation,” says Amy Solomon of the Van Buren County Schools Central Office. “We have both the senior and junior classes in the ceremony.”


Dressed in formal wear, juniors receive candles and stand in two separate lines along a walkway where the two tallest seniors go down the aisle lighting the candles in order to shine a beacon for the graduates.


“Each junior stands in two lines facing one another while holding a candle in a wooden block,” says Solomon. “The seniors walk down that lit pathway. This is a tradition we’ve done for as long as I can remember.”


Seniors receive their diplomas and give a short speech to their family, friends and fellow classmates before being seated again. Once all graduates have returned to their seats, the lights will go off and the candlelit “march for seniors” begins.


“Whenever graduation is close to ending, and the seniors have received their diplomas, the junior class lines the walkway, making a path for all seniors to walk through,” explains Solomon.


The seniors are able to submit songs for approval to be used for their entrance and exit songs. The chosen ending song plays as the seniors walk through the path of juniors to complete the ceremony.


With the class of 2020’s graduation taking place outside in the back parking lot, the 58 graduates will walk onto the school’s porch to receive their diplomas, and will walk through the line of 60 juniors holding battery-operated candles. The seniors are allowed passes for four attendees while juniors can have two.


For more information, visit www.vanburenschools.org or call the Van Buren County School District's Central Office at 931-946-2242. Van Buren County High School is located at 337 Sparta St, Spencer, TN 38585


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