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2021 Mid-Year Graduations
2021 Mid-Year Graduations
Posted on 01/26/2021
Last week, 217 students from 10 BCS high schools received their diplomas during mid-year graduation ceremonies. Prior years saw graduates from every school and their families in a packed Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. With COVID-19 still spreading in Buncombe County, small, physically distanced ceremonies took place at each school. Several schools held their graduations by appointment, meaning each student and their loved ones had the auditorium to themselves.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

For the first BCS graduates of 2021, it’s been a year to remember.

Last week, 217 students from 10 BCS high schools received their diplomas during mid-year graduation ceremonies. Prior years saw graduates from every school and their families in a packed Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. With COVID-19 still spreading in Buncombe County, small, physically distanced ceremonies took place at each school. Several schools held their graduations by appointment, meaning each student and their loved ones had the auditorium to themselves.

“Get as close to the stage as you want; there’s plenty of room,” said Clyde A. Erwin High School (CAEHS) Principal Greg Bailey as each family entered the Bob Johnson Theater. He and Assistant Principal Gordon Hale handed diplomas to graduates as science teacher Isaac Rockoff stood at a podium and read each name aloud.

CAEHS Graduate Shelby Worley walked across the stage and received her diploma as her family cheered and took pictures. She said the pandemic made her ceremony bittersweet but enjoyable, nonetheless.

“It felt really supportive,” she said. “My family and teachers were cheering me on and proud of me. It was a good environment.”

A.C. Reynolds High School graduate Hayden Waller had a similar experience.

“Everyone had a positive attitude and cheered each other on,” he said. “It felt like genuine, good vibes to me.”

While proud of their academic work, Shelby and Hayden also had thoughtful reflections about the end of their K-12 education, which came in such a strange time.

“I’m thankful that my teachers tried their best to make this a good senior year,” Shelby said. “I’ve learned to be patient, to make the best out of whatever situation I’m in. And understanding – everybody’s going through the same thing, but it’s affecting people in different ways.”

“Mental health is as important or more than physical health,” Hayden added. “Staying in a good mindset is super important. You have to have the grit and the want to achieve your dreams. Life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. You have to push through.”

In a special video message, BCS Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin reminded families that BCS is committed to prepare students for their tomorrow “whatever it may hold.”

“Despite the challenges of the 2020-21 school year and the COVID-19 pandemic, here you stand ready for the future,” he said. “Your perseverance and academic achievements are to be commended, as you not only met the requirements for graduation, but you did so in the face of uncertainty during your senior year. You certainly will have stories to tell about your final months of high school.”


    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin, shanon.martin@bcsemail.org, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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