By Deana Meredith
Graduation. It’s what every Louisa County High School senior has looked forward to since they walked into their first classroom as seniors this past fall. And despite all of the snow days missed over the winter months, these young adults don’t have much longer to wait.
For Principal Tom Smith, who will be leaving Louisa County Public Schools at the end of the school year, this will be the final time he will congratulate Louisa seniors for a job well done in an official capacity.
“I always tell the seniors one of my favorite parts as principal is shaking their hand and handing them their diploma as they walk across the stage,” Smith said. “It’s the culmination of everything they’ve worked for over the past four years. That’s one of my favorite times as principal.”
Three-hundred and seven seniors are candidates for diplomas at this year’s commencement ceremony scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 23 in the LCHS stadium. If it rains, though, graduation will be moved to either Saturday, May 24 or Sunday, May 25. A decision will be made by school administration by Thursday, May 22 morning.
In the weeks leading up to graduation, students’ schedules have gotten busier with everything that comes with winding up their 13 years of public school education including ordering caps, gowns and graduation invitations. The fun activities are mixed in with the more difficult such as studying for and taking the exams and SOLs, as well as attending activities specially designed to celebrate the culmination of their school career.
It’s a whirlwind schedule not only for students, but also parents and faculty at the end of the academic year. Seniors have already been given a letter that outlines the important information in the days leading up to graduation night.
The annual senior picnic was held on Friday, May 9 and baccalaureate is scheduled at the Mineral Baptist Church Family Life Center at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 18. An academic awards ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 21 at Louisa County Middle School, and Senior Awards Night begins at 7 p.m. that same evening.
Getting the walk down right is important, too. Rehearsal is planned for 8:30 a.m. on the morning of graduation. Seniors will report to the cafeteria, will be given their marching orders and will then walk to the stadium together to learn the lay of the land for graduation night.
At practice, instead of the diploma, graduates will be given a minimum of five admission tickets for family members to use to attend graduation. If they’ve attended both the morning and afternoon awards ceremonies on May 21, they will be given a sixth ticket.
The tickets are intended for friends and family who arrive before the graduates walk out onto the field. Those who arrive early with their tickets in hand will be seated in the stadium.
After the graduation candidates have taken their seats on the football field, non-ticket holders will be admitted inside the stadium, but must stand around the fence. No one will be allowed onto the bleachers after commencement begins, according to Smith.
And as a new chapter begins for the seniors and their principal for the past three years, Smith is pleased to be part of their special moment.
“Congratulations to the Class of 2014. They’ve worked very hard to get where they are and we’re excited to share it with them,” Smith said. “I thank them for everything they did to get themselves to this point and I wish every one of them the best for the future.”