Parents celebrate Roanoke City Schools graduates during drive-thru cap and gown pickup

Cap and gown to be worn during virtual graduation ceremonies next month

ROANOKE, Va. – The Class of 2020 in Roanoke City Public Schools might not get to physically walk the stage this year, but they still received their caps and gowns.

Seniors from Patrick Henry High School and William Fleming High School picked up their graduation garb during a drive-thru ceremony on Thursday. William Fleming Principal Archie Freeman said this was the first time many seniors have returned to school grounds since remote learning took effect.

Freeman hopes the cap and gown pickup inspires students to handle any obstacles that come in their way.

“Don’t make an excuse, make an adjustment. Let’s keep it moving because you can do this," Freeman said. "We have to instill that motivation in them.”

At Patrick Henry, parents lined the entrance to the school to cheer on the graduates.

Lori Fitchett, whose daughter is a senior at Patrick Henry, said the class of 2020 deserves to hear how proud their parents are of them.

“This is the celebration they’re not going to get ," Fitchett said. "You don’t know what’s going to happen for their actual graduation. They’re coming through PH maybe for the last time.”

Roanoke City Schools has planned virtual graduations for Patrick Henry and William Fleming students on June 4. In-person graduation ceremonies are not officially cancelled, but in a message to parents, the school district said they are “impossible” to schedule at the moment.