The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Fluvanna Sports Photography
Class of 2022’s graduation. Photo Courtesy of Fluvanna Sports Photography

All You Need to Know About Graduation

As May 24 continues to rapidly approach, the graduating class of 2024 is slowly closing the curtains on their high school career. With 13 years of school completed, seniors may think the hard part is over, but there are still steps that need to be taken regarding their impending graduation. Many of these steps have to do with the ceremony itself.

Graduation Rehearsal:
On May 23, there will be a mandatory graduation practice for seniors. This practice will detail exactly how the official ceremony will transpire. This practice will begin at 9:00 am on the FCHS football field and is estimated to end at 11:00 am. Seniors are expected to be there on time, wearing their caps and gowns.

“Do as we ask so it goes smoothly, and we can get out of there as soon as possible,” said Senior Class Sponsor Mitchell Pace.

Graduation Eligibility:
Making it to May 24 is not the only requirement for graduation. You must also be deemed eligible for graduation. The qualifications vary slightly between whether you are receiving a “Standard” or “Advanced” diploma and are set by the Virginia Department of Education. According to their website, the qualifications are as follows: “For the Standard diploma, a student must earn 22 units of credit, as well as five verified credits. For the Advanced Studies diploma, a student must earn 26 standard units of credit, with five verified credits…”

The website goes on to note that “A verified unit of credit is awarded when, in addition to successfully completing a 140-hour course, the student passes a SOL test for certain courses in high school.” This means that students will have had to pass the class with at least a “D” and have passed an SOL in that subject in either freshman year or later with at least a 400.

Grades are not the only things that determine your eligibility to graduate: You also must pay all outstanding fees that may be in your name. This includes any debt you may have on your lunch account, charges you may receive if you do not turn in your Chromebook or its charger, and any textbooks, calculators, or library books you have received between eighth grade and now. Finally, you must complete the emailed Senior Survey sent to all seniors by school counseling. If these tasks are not completed by Graduation, you will not be able to walk.

Attire and Decorum:
Graduation ceremonies are formal events and should be treated as such. Graduates will need to be wearing their graduation gown, cap, and tassel throughout the ceremony. Underneath the gown, students must be dressed nicely. Collared shirts and slacks or dresses are required. Graduates will also be expected to be respectful during the ceremony, including being expected to remain quiet during speeches and holding applause until all names are called to give everyone equal attention.

“While this is a celebration of you and your achievements, this is also very much about your family and the support you’ve received along the way… remember that and act appropriately throughout practice and the real thing,” said Pace.

On the field:
There are certain items that seniors need to bring with them to survive the day. Water and sunscreen are highly recommended. Late May is often hot, especially in early evening when Graduation occurs. Graduates should start hydrating the morning of Graduation and keep a water bottle with them on the field to drink throughout the ceremony. It is also recommended that graduates apply sunscreen before the ceremony. Alongside their water bottle, graduates can have their phone, car keys and sunglasses on the field.

Be on Time:
Parking is very limited on the day of the ceremony. Graduates are expected to arrive to the school at 4:30 pm and park in the student parking lot. This is two and a half hours before the ceremony, and the early arrival time is very intentional. Graduates must arrive on time as they have priority for the student parking lot. Once the student lot fills up, people will be rerouted to park in Pleasant Grove and will have to ride a shuttle to the high school. Graduates are also expected to arrive early so they can be lined up and ready for the start of the ceremony promptly at 6:00 pm. Families are allowed to ride with graduates if they want to be able to park in the student parking lot. However, they will have to stay there until the ceremony.

When crossing the stage, students will not receive their physical diploma. They will instead receive a diploma cover. Graduates will be able to “obtain their actual paper diploma behind the stadium immediately following the ceremony,” said Pace.

Ceremony Schedule:
The ceremony will take place as follows: Graduates will enter the field at 6:00 pm and a welcome statement will be read after all graduates have taken their seats. Following this will be speeches from Principal Margo Bruce and Superintendent Dr. Pete Gretz, and then the final two speeches will be given by the salutatorian and the valedictorian. After this, the choir will perform the school song, which will lead into the distribution of diplomas. During the diploma distribution, students will be called up one by one in alphabetical order by last name. Then, Bruce will give a closing statement, and the ceremony will conclude.

When asked if he had any final advice for the Class of 2024, Pace said, “Enjoy the moment… soak it up. This is the last time you will be together with your class… your group of friends and people you’ve grown up with.” This seems to be a shared sentiment, because when asked to reminisce on her 2003 graduation, FCHS substitute teacher Amanda Fisher advised students to “Don’t start beef, let it all go [and] just enjoy the day.”

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