SEBRING — The 2019-20 school year comes to a close in Highlands County today with an unprecedented eight weeks of online and at-home learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Daily life and routines were disrupted as health concerns required many changes for the general public, businesses, schools and colleges.
But, schools aim to end on a positive note like Memorial Elementary School where Principal Courtney Floyd said they will be having a drive-through celebration for all grades from 4-6 p.m. today.
“We will have the teachers and staff in the parking lot (more than 6 feet apart) with signs, balloons, banners, cheering and waving goodbye to our students,” she said. “We will be providing a free hot dog dinner (to-go) to the first 600 people.”
“We have greatly appreciated all of the community and parent support,” Floyd added.
Woodlawn Elementary Principal Jon Spencer said, “This year definitely did not end the way that we envisioned, but it has been very humbling watching so many people come together with one goal in mind and that was to help our students.”
This is typically a month of celebrations and bringing the year to a close, he said. “It has been so much fun seeing how the schools in Highlands County have been creative in keeping those celebrations alive.”
Woodlawn staff and teachers have visited many students celebrating some special awards. “We are having our students drive through our pick-up line one more time today from 10 a.m. to noon so the school’s staff can wave good-bye one last time,” Spencer said.
“While this is not the way we wanted to end our school year, we are choosing to focus on the many moments and experiences that we did enjoy with our students and their families,” he said. “There is so much to be thankful for. We are very proud of all of our eagles!”
Also, the graduation dates and locations have been finalized:
• Avon Park High School — 8 p.m., July 24, Joe Franza Stadium.
• Highlands Virtual School — 10 a.m., July 25, Circle Theatre, Sebring.
• Lake Placid High School — 9 p.m., July 25, Scarborough Stadium.
• Sebring High School — 6:30 p.m., July 23, Alan Jay Arena.