Henry County Schools will hold graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021 at Atlanta Motor Speedway next May, after the success of using the venue this summer. Holding graduation ceremonies at the speedway allows for social distancing guidelines to be followed while still providing high school seniors with a traditional graduation ceremony.
The Henry County Board of Education approved a contract with AMS for the use of the venue during its meeting on Monday, November 9. Graduation dates will run from May 19 through May 28, 2021 allowing each high school to hold their ceremony in the evening. The graduation dates for each school are as follows:
- Wednesday, May 19 â€“ Ola High School
- Thursday, May 20 â€“ Luella High School
- Friday, May 21 â€“ Stockbridge High School
- Saturday, May 22 â€“ McDonough High School
- Sunday, May 23 â€“ Locust Grove High School
- Monday, May 24 â€“ Hampton High School
- Tuesday, May 25 â€“ Eagleâ€™s Landing High School
- Wednesday, May 26 â€“ Dutchtown High School
- Thursday, May 27 â€“ Union Grove High School
- Friday, May 28 â€“ Woodland High School
Atlanta Motor Speedway will charge the school district $130,000 to rent the speedway paid for through the districtâ€™s general fund. The cost breaks down to $13,000 per ceremony for the districtâ€™s ten high schools.
The school board opted to plan in advance to use the speedway for 2021 ceremonies given uncertainties how the Coronavirus pandemic will continue to develop before next May. The traditional location at high school football stadiums would result in significantly reduced capacity â€” potentially as few as one or two tickets per senior â€” in order to accommodate social distancing.
Board members expressed their appreciation and joy about returning to AMS after using the facility for ceremonies in June. Henry County Schools was one of only a handful of districts able to hold traditional in-person ceremonies for the Class of 2020.
Approving a contract now allows Henry County to begin planning for the graduation ceremonies and lock in the districtâ€™s dates at the speedway. The number of tickets each high school senior will receive will be determined closer to graduation, taking into consideration any executive orders that may be in effect at the time; however, the current estimate is at least ten tickets for each graduate.
This article has been updated with the graduation dates for each high school.