Fayetteville seniors graduate amid COVID-19 pandemic

Local News

Several restrictions were in place as seniors take part in a commencement ceremony.

Fayetteville, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Fayetteville Public Schools holds the areas first large graduation ceremony after COVID-19 delays.

Graduating senior, Zoe Lawless did not know if this day would ever come.

“I’ve just been waiting every day really hoping that we can do this,” she said.

Fayetteville graduation was postponed back in May, along with a number of other big moments for seniors.

“It’s been difficult at every turn. Disappointing when her dance recital was canceled. Disappointing when prom was canceled,” Zoe Lawless’ mother Wendi Lawless said.

The school district was determined to give students a proper send-off, albeit not a typical one. With staggered arrival times on Thursday, students could only bring two guests. They waited in line outside spaced six feet apart until they got to the state in Fayetteville High School’s Performing Arts Center.

“They’re just walking through the venue and out the other side with their family members. So fortunately for us, I think we found a good alternative,” School Board President Nika Waitsman said.

One student at a time walked across the stage while his or her two guests walked down in front of the stage to take pictures. They then all left on the opposite side of the PAC.

“We’re happy they’re taking precautions and everything. It feels very safe, everything that they’re doing here so we’re just happy for this opportunity,” Wendi Lawless said.

It was this safer alternative that gave Wendi Lawless the chance to see her first child graduate.

“It’s all very emotional right now, but i’m very very proud of her,” she said.

“I was a little worried but i’m excited that it’s finally here,” Zoe Lawless said.

It was a ceremony certainly no one will ever forget.

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