Schweitzer: Updates for PCHS seniors in this unprecedented time

Wolverine Seniors, I hope this letter finds you and your family well. Undoubtedly, we are in the midst of one of the most surprising and unprecedented events of our lifetimes. There has not been, and will not be, any directions or roadmap for how we navigate the challenges that this pandemic has placed upon all of us.

As an old history teacher, I learned the value of perspective a long time ago. I have tried to remain fiercely focused on your perspective in all of this. It is easy for adults who have already had the Senior experience to forget how much it meant to them at 18 years old. Walking across that stage is a symbolic milestone for both you and your family. It’s a right of passage out of childhood and launching you into the world. It is an experience that allows the last 13 years of your lives to wash across your eyes and afford you that one moment where time stops and your family and the community can simply celebrate you. It is an irreplaceable moment in time.

The purpose of this letter is to hopefully help put your minds at ease. First, let’s take a look at what Governor Cooper and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has issued in terms of guidance for getting you graduated:

Senior Coursework and Graduation Requirements
Graduation requirements have been lowered from 28 credits down to 22. This means that ALL of you are going to meet the credit minimum! All non-required courses will either receive a “withdraw” grade or a “pass” grade based on your grade as of March 13. Neither of those will help or hurt your GPA. The same is true if you were taking a “required” course for graduation except if you were failing on March 13, we will work with you independently to get you to a “pass” grade. For ICC and AP courses, please refer to your instructors’ directions as you will have slightly different guidelines for credit. You are encouraged to continue working on your classes even if you were passing on March 13, but you are not required to. Bottom line…YOU WILL GRADUATE!

We will hold a commencement ceremony to celebrate the Class of 2020. We believe you are owed this moment in your lives. The date and logistics of that ceremony remain undetermined. Our intent is to have graduation on the current scheduled date of June 5 or as soon as we are able based upon state and local health guidelines. We will be communicating about this further once we have more information.

Senior Awards
Senior awards night is still slated to occur on the night before graduation. Our intent is to distribute stoles, honor cords, and other honorary regalia to our graduates at that time. As with graduation, this is currently scheduled to occur on the night of June 4, but will be adjusted based upon state and local health guidelines.

Cap/Gown Pickups
We will be working with Jostens to develop a system for pickup up graduation materials. More information will be distributed soon.

Senior Cookout / Senior Walk
The optimist in me wants so badly for these events to still take place. The reality is that it doesn’t look good for events to happen in the traditional sense. We aren’t ready to say they are cancelled yet, but please be prepared in case regulations force us to focus our efforts solely on graduation events.

Unfortunately, Prom has been cancelled for this school year. We know Seniors are disappointed as are we. Right now our focus is on honoring our graduates above all things.

Senior Obligations
Students will need to return all school property such as uniforms, chromebooks, calculators, textbooks, instruments, etc. We will send additional information at a later date regarding the payment for obligations as well as a plan for the return of school property.

Yearbook Pickup
Our amazing yearbook staff headed up by Brandy Alm was able to complete and submit our yearbook for production! We will announce distribution plans at a later date.

In the coming weeks, we will be making individualized calls to each of our Seniors. These calls are intended to answer specific questions families might have and also address individual situations related to graduation.

I realize there is a lot in this letter that we still do not know. The main purpose of this is to be sure our Seniors know they are going to graduate. This pandemic has caused all of us to be forced to live with a degree of uncertainty about a lot of things in our lives. The one thing I do know for certain is that the faculty and staff of Polk County High School love you and miss each of you. It is not lost on us how much has been taken from you in all of this. Know that we are working daily to figure out what we can do to give back to you and celebrate your accomplishments.


Brandon Schweitzer, Principal
Polk County High School

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