JCPS Cancels Traditional Graduation Ceremonies

Drive-Thru, Drive-In Graduation Ceremonies Authorized By School Board

SSS High Will Hold Drive-Thru Graduation On July 30th

SMITHFIELD – Traditional graduation ceremonies for high school seniors will not be held this year due to COVID-19 concerns. The decision was announced late-today (Tuesday) during a meeting of the Johnston County Public School Board.

Officials said the “difficult but safe decision” was made after consulting with Dr. Marilyn Pearson, Director of the Johnston County Health Department.

Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy said a plan for modified graduation ceremonies was presented to Dr. Pearson but she did not feel like it was safe to have that number of people in one location for graduation.

Principals will be asked to come up with details for drive-thru commencement events for their seniors, Dr. Bracy added.

School board member Tracie Zukowski is the parent of a graduating senior at Corinth Holders High. Zukowski said the graduating class of 2020 was born during 9/11 and they will graduate during a pandemic. “They can overcome anything.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of our high schools delivering signs, shirts, gifts, you name it. Some had parades. We had fireworks displays at some schools. I want to thank high school staff and administration for all they have done to make seniors feel special,” said board member Terri Sessoms.

SSS High Drive-In Graduation 
A few hours after Tuesday’s decision by the school board,
Smithfield-Selma High School (SSS) announced they will honor senior graduates who have not yet received their diplomas with a special drive-thru graduation on Thursday, July 30.

Graduates are scheduled in a window of time based on their last name. Graduates may come anytime during the window. SSS recommends students with last names A-K report from 9 am – 12 pm and those with last names L-Z report from 2 pm – 5 pm.

Graduates should wear their cap and gown and be dressed when they arrive on campus.  Only one vehicle per Graduate is allowed and the graduate must be in the vehicle.  When graduates arrive, they are to drive their vehicle into the gym parking lot. A parking attendant will help line them up and direct them to the graduation area in front of the school.  A professional photographer will take a picture of the graduate and these pictures will be available for purchase.

More details will be announced on the school’s web page.  SSS graduates may also email their counselor or Mr. Rob Simpkins, Senior Administrator at with questions or for more information.

Other Johnston County high schools will make announcements regarding their drive-thru ceremonies in the next few days.