William Fleming Class of 2020 receives diplomas in nontraditional manner

ROANOKE, Va. – Graduation week has arrived for the Class of 2020 and it certainly looks different.

On Monday, 10 News stopped by William Fleming High School where students were given their diplomas ahead of a virtual graduation ceremony scheduled for later this week.

It’s not the Berglund Center, but at least there’s a stage. COVID-19 may have changed the Colonels’ traditions but seniors like Shiba Faqeri said it can’t take away their accomplishments.

"I'm happy I made it, I came from Afghanistan, and this means a lot," Faqeri said.

Donning their caps, gowns and new this year, masks, one by one, graduates were handed their diplomas in the Dickinson Auditorium. No more than four guests could accompany each student, and each group was to arrive in the same vehicle, where they had to remain, until allowed in.

"It's different but we are still grateful that we are a big part of it in someway," said Sweeta Ismail, Faqeri’s aunt.

To help control the flow of people, a schedule was sent out to the graduates. It gave the time frame allotted for everyone based upon their last name.

“We’re celebrating with our students and it has been excellent,” said Archie Ferrman, the principal of William Fleming High School. “Everyone has an opportunity to have their moment and to celebrate each student and their success.”

It may not be the kind of memory the Class of 2020 hoped for, but one thing’s for sure: It can’t be matched by those who came before.

“I’m about to keep my head up and keep moving,” said Taimya Covington, another graduate.

William Fleming’s virtual graduation ceremony will take place on Thursday at 2 p.m. Anyone can watch it on the district’s Facebook page. Patrick Henry’s graduation will be streamed at 10 a.m. on Thursday. They also gave out diplomas on Monday.