Crossroads Early College held a socially distanced, in-person graduation on the front steps of Statesville High School on Friday, taking safety precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several other schools across the country have postponed in-person graduations due to the pandemic and have held virtual graduations instead.

“A virtual tribute is not as personal as this,” said Crossroads Principal Alicia Eller. “We can still make it a special day for them.”

Eller said she liked the socially distanced graduation as it allowed for staffers to speak with students in a personalized setting.

“It brings the school back together,” Eller said.

Eller was wearing a face mask and gloves as she presented diplomas to graduates.

Crossroads CTE teacher Tracy Skeens said that Eller changed gloves for every graduate.

Skeens added that five students were allowed to walk across the front steps of Statesville High to graduate every 30 minutes.

The students’ families parked in the front parking lot and watched from a distance as their family members graduated.

Skeens said students had the option to shake hands, fist-bump or elbow-bump the principal as they accepted their diplomas. Or they could accept their diploma and not do any of the three.

“Whatever they’re comfortable with,” Skeens said, who was wearing a face mask along with the other Crossroads staff at the graduation.

Crossroads posted a video tribute as well on the school website Friday afternoon, Eller said.

The video consists of a commencement speech and a speech from Eller.

Eller said that it’s been a tough last semester for graduates as they missed out of senior year experiences like prom.

“It feels good that we’re doing something for students,” Eller said. “We’re proud of our graduates.”

Crossroads history teacher Mike Williams announced the names of the students graduating through a megaphone as the students walked across the front steps.

One of those students was Elyscha Webb.

“Given the situation surrounding the coronavirus,” Webb said, “I like it like this. It’s something that I will remember for a while.”

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