Graduation season under way for Triangle high schools

khui@newsobserver.comMay 26, 2014 

Leesville Road High School graduates celebrate at the end of their graduation ceremony at the Raleigh Convention Center last year.


Over the three next weeks, some 20,000 Triangle high school seniors will graduate from public and private schools to cap off a journey that began for most of them in 2001.

Here’s a look at some of the things that graduates and their families can expect during this graduation season.

Early college, early graduation

Early colleges are holding their graduations now weeks ahead of the traditional high schools.

Early colleges allow students to both get their high school diploma and to earn as much as two years of college credit. These high schools match their schedules with their college or university partner.

In Durham, J.D. Clement Early College, City of Medicine Academy and Middle College High School held graduation ceremonies Thursday at N.C. Central University.

In Johnston County, the Early College Academy and Middle College High School held graduations Friday at Johnston Community College.

On Wednesday, students from the Wake Early College of Health and Sciences will graduate at 7 p.m. at Meymandi Concert Hall at the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center in Raleigh.

A graduation and a futurist

Parents and community members can both watch a graduation ceremony Friday and help the Wake County school system develop a new five-year strategic plan.

Southeast Raleigh High School students will graduate Friday at 4 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh. Students are graduating now because the school operates on a modified year-round calendar.

From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium, the school system will hold the community kickoff event for creating its new strategic plan. David Houle, a futurist, thinker and author of the book, “Shift Ed: A Call to Action for Transforming K-12 Education” will be the keynote speaker.

The planning event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Go to for more information.

Marvin Connelly, Wake’s chief of staff and strategic planning, told the school board that the district got a better price for Memorial Auditorium by holding the event after the graduation instead of on a different day.

Assembly-line graduations

Most Triangle school systems don’t hold their graduation ceremonies on campus. Instead, the ceremonies are held at a central, indoor location right after one another.

These central locations eliminate the uncertainty of rain forcing events indoors. High schools don’t typically have large enough auditoriums or gyms to hold the crowd that would attend an outdoor graduation.

In Wake County, most of the school system’s 10,000 seniors will graduate June 6-10 at the Raleigh Convention Center or Memorial Auditorium. The graduations are spread out over four-hour time periods to allow one group to leave and for the next to arrive and find parking in downtown lots.

Most Durham high schools will hold graduation ceremonies June 11-12 at Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Both the Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school systems use UNC-Chapel Hill’s Dean E. Smith Center. Orange County will hold graduations there on June 12, Chapel Hill-Carrboro on June 14.

An exception is the Johnston County school system, where the traditional high schools will hold graduations on their campuses June 13. Some Johnston high schools will stream their ceremonies online.

Proper graduation behavior

The graduation ceremony itself has rules. For instance, seniors in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system who skip graduation rehearsal or who aren’t dressed appropriately on graduation day face being barred from the ceremony.

School systems also typically have rules barring guests from bringing things such as balloons and noisemakers to the ceremonies.

Hui: 919-829-4534

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