The class of 2020 endured more challenges and disappointment than any other graduating class in recent history. Despite these difficulties, our seniors have risen to the challenges and finished out their high school careers strong. We are so proud of each and every Dalton Public Schools senior for their resilience and hard work.
Even though we were unable to gather for our traditional graduation ceremonies this year, both of our high schools came up with alternative ways to celebrate our graduates.
Dalton High School developed a drive-through graduation ceremony. This past week, students and families participated in a drive-through graduation at Harmon Field where the graduate walked across the stage, received their diploma and turned their tassel.
At Morris Innovative High School, graduates scheduled a 30-minute timeslot to come receive their diploma and take photos in their graduation regalia. Both of these alternative ceremonies were incredibly successful and momentous occasions for students and their families. While we remain hopeful that we will be able to celebrate with more traditional ceremonies in late July, we felt it was important to mark this significant achievement now for students and their families.
As these students graduate, they leave an impressive legacy at their respective schools. At Dalton High School, students received $1,554,886 in scholarships. Many students will be staying local and attending Dalton State College or Georgia Northwestern Technical College. However, we also have Dalton High students attending Berry, Berea, Auburn, Seton Hall University, Georgia Tech and many other colleges and universities across the country.
Nine students will graduate as candidates for the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma, and 27 students will graduate as Advanced Placement (AP) Scholars. Three DHS students will join the military after graduation. One student was recognized as a Georgia Scholar.
Of the graduates from Morris Innovative High School, 10 are honor graduates. Students received scholarships from the Rotary Club, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Alpha Delta Kappa, the Dalton Whitfield Murray Retired Educators Association and the Dr. Jim and Nancy Hawkins Scholarship.
Morris had 15 students who completed at least one pathway and three students who dual-enrolled during their senior year.
One of the most incredible accomplishments of this senior class is their contribution to the Dalton community. Morris seniors totaled 4,280 hours of community service and at Dalton High 106 seniors completed at least 10 hours of community service. I am so proud of the way our students contribute to this community and help to make our world a better place.
As we send our graduates off into the world, we also have two administrators retiring from many years of service here at Dalton Public Schools. Cindy Parrot, principal of Roan School, and Steve Bartoo, principal of Dalton High School, are both retiring after a combined total of 57 years working for Dalton Public Schools. They have been instrumental in the success of their schools and I wish them all the best in this new chapter of their life.
Wrapping up this school year is certainly different than expected, but I remain proud of every student and staff member in our district for their hard work and commitment to excellence.
As we close the book on this unprecedented school year, many of us are already working on how we will have students and staff return to school. We are planning for the possibility of any of three scenarios: students physically present in the buildings, online digital learning and a hybrid of both of those models with students rotating through the school on various days mixed with digital learning. Our district will continue to adhere to guidance provided by our local health department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Georgia Department of Education and Gov. Brian Kemp’s office.
I personally look forward to seeing what each of these graduates accomplish in the future in college, career and civic life. Congratulations to the class of 2020 and best wishes on your future endeavors.
To all of our students and staff members, enjoy your summer break! You’ve more than earned it!
Tim Scott is superintendent of Dalton Public Schools.