Due to COVID-19, May 22 will be a day the Jackson High School Class of 2020 will remember for years to come, but not for the usual reason, which would have been their graduation before a cheering crowd of family and friends.

Instead, May 22 will be remembered as the Jackson High School Class of 2020 Car Procession. Hosted by the Butts County Sheriff’s Office, the procession will begin at Jackson High School, go through downtown Jackson with family and friends cheering them on, and end with a balloon release at Red Devil Hill.

“We know the seniors and their families are having a hard time with recent events,” Sheriff Gary Long said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. We look forward to celebrating the Jackson High School Graduating Class of 2020 on May 2 at 6 p.m.”

Seniors are asked to arrive at JHS before 5:30 p.m. in their personal vehicles, and must remain in their vehicles during the procession through town.

The procession will leave JHS at 6 p.m., make a left onto Old Griffin Road, a right on Imogene Goff Road, a right onto Highway 16/3rd Street and a right on Franklin Street. The procession will end at Red Devil Hill, where the seniors will park in the National Guard Armory parking lot to witness a balloon release in their honor.

Businesses along the route are encouraged to decorate in red, white and blue to show support for all graduating seniors!

All spectators along the route are asked to either stay in their vehicles, or stay within 6 feet of their vehicles when possible, and practice social distancing from others during the procession.

The Butts County School System is also doing what it can to make the 2020 graduation a memorable one. Signs with senior photos on them are being placed through Jackson.

With the ban on gatherings of 10 or more people remaining in place in Georgia through mid-June due to the COVID-19 pandemic ending any hopes of a normal graduation ceremony, the week of May 18-22, the school system will film the graduates for a virtual graduation.

Each senior and their family will be given a 10-minute time period during the week to be in the JHS gym, where the senior, in cap and gown, will be filmed having his or her name called and walking up to receive their diploma.

The school system is also filming the valedictorian and salutatorian speeches and the scholarship presentations. They will then edit everything together and produce a graduation ceremony on video. It will be released online and every senior will receive a copy.

And all hope for an actual graduation ceremony is not lost. After a poll of the seniors found that the majority of them still wanted a real ceremony, the school system is looking at a summer date of July 24 for the actual ceremony. More information on this will be posted when it becomes available.

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