BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The coronavirus pandemic will not stop Botetourt County Public Schools from honoring high school seniors, which is why James River High School and Lord Botetourt High School are kicking off several days of celebratory events for the Class of 2020 on Sunday afternoon.
For James River High School, the Drive-up Baccalaureate Service will start at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 17 at Limestone Park. Students are encouraged to wear their caps and gowns for this church service, but attendees must remain in the vehicle during the service.
Right after the service, James River High School parents and community members sponsored a “Knight Cruise 2020.” According to school officials, parents will leave the park first to find a parking space along the route so they can watch from their vehicles while students follow the fire trucks along the route from Limestone Park, through the Town of Buchanan, down Lowe Street, and back to Limestone Park.
Meanwhile, Lord Botetourt High School will host its Drive-Up Baccalaureate Service at Bonsack Baptist Church at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Once again, students are asked to wear caps and gowns for this church service, and attendees are asked to follow the directions given as they enter the parking lot and tune their radios to 88.1 FM for the service.
In addition, Lord Botetourt High School will host an online graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 18 that can be accessed on the Lord Botetourt High School website and the Botetourt County Public Schools website. School officials say they will post a graduation program for the ceremony, which will include processional music; the National Anthem; speeches from students, school leaders, and a special guest; roll call with pictures; confirmation of the graduates; and recessional music.
James River High School will also host a virtual commencement ceremony at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19 via James River High School’s website and Botetourt County Public Schools’ website. You can find the program for the James River graduation here. According to officials, athletic and academic recognition will be posted on the high school’s website, but some awards and scholarships will be included in the online ceremony.
“We are fully committed to an in-person graduation which will take place as soon as possible,” says Botetourt County Public Schools. “This online ceremony certainly does not replace our in-person ceremony but is an opportunity to mark this special date.”
Both high schools invite students to pick up their diplomas and return their school items — such as Chromebooks, textbooks, library books, or athletic uniforms — anytime from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20 and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 21. Students are once again encouraged to wear their caps and gowns so they can have their senior photos taken after they collect their diplomas, awards, honor cords, tassels, and locker contents.
James River seniors and their families are asked to enter the front parking lot from Springwood Road and follow directions to the right to the main parking lot. After students drop off their school items and pick up their graduation items, a Lifetouch Photographer will offer an opportunity for seniors to take a graduation photo — of which a free 8×10 copy will be mailed to the student — near the athletic entrance. From there, vehicles will leave the parking lot and drive onto Route 43.
On the other hand, for Lord Botetourt seniors, they are asked to come through the south entrance, drop off their items and pay any outstanding debts in the front parking lot, turn left at the north end parking lot, proceed through the north end gate, and follow directions from there so students can pick up their graduation items around back. After students take their picture with the Lifetouch photographer, vehicles will head to the south exit by the practice field.
In addition, officials say Lord Botetourt High School will recognize its graduating class in the following ways:
- The Lord Botetourt Cavalier Stadium lights will be turned on each night from Friday, May 15 through Monday, May 18 at 8:20 pm (20:20) for twenty minutes to honor the Lord Botetourt High School Class of 2020.
- The Lord Botetourt Yearbook Staff has provided several pictures to the K92 FM Radio Station, which will be working to provide a Shout-Out to the LB Class of 2020 and post pictures on the K92 Facebook page.
- From June 1 through June 7, the Salem Civic Center will list all Lord Botetourt 2020 graduates on its digital marquee.