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Burke County High Schools Graduation Plans

By Jonelle Bobak

Burke Countyjonelle bobak burke county schools



Burke County Public Schools is pleased to announce that the district’s high schools plan to hold traditional, in-person graduations in May. Graduation ceremonies will take place indoors for Burke Middle College, Hallyburton, and Draughn and outdoors for Patton, Freedom, and East Burke and will follow COVID-19 protocols. Patton, Freedom, and East Burke have contingency plans to move the ceremonies indoors in the event of bad weather.

Burke County Public Schools Director of Secondary Education Felicia Simmons said, “After a year of navigating through COVID-19 restrictions and the uncertainties of in-person learning, unfortunately, our seniors have missed out on many traditional senior year experiences. We are beyond thrilled that state restrictions have eased to the point that we can hold traditional graduation ceremonies where families can gather to watch their seniors receive their diplomas and enjoy the experience with their classmates.”

Burke County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mike Swan said, “Last year’s walk-through graduation ceremonies were special and memorable, but the Class of 2020 missed out on experiencing the moment with their fellow graduates. While our high school graduation ceremonies this year will still follow current CDC guidelines and meet state regulations on crowds and social distancing, the Class of 2021 and their families will have the opportunity to experience a more traditional graduation as seniors walk across the stage and receive their high school diplomas.”

Each school will release more specific information regarding their graduation ceremonies. To accommodate social distancing guidelines, families will sit together in designated areas, health screenings will take place upon entrance and masks will be required.

The dates and times for the ceremonies are as follows:

Monday, May 24, 2021

  • Burke Middle College at 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. at Western Piedmont Community College

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

  • Hallyburton Academy at 3 p.m. in the gym
  • East Burke High School at 6 p.m. in the football stadium
  • Freedom High School at 6 p.m. in the football stadium

Thursday, May 27, 2021

  • Draughn High School at 6 p.m. in the gym
  • Patton High School at 6 p.m. in the football stadium


Jonelle Bobak is the Marketing and Communications Specialist for Burke County Public Schools. She is a graduate of Gardner-Webb University and Draughn High School and lives in Drexel. She has a background in journalism and enjoys traveling, crocheting, and spending time with friends and family.

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