Coweta County school officials announced Friday that Newnan High School’s Class of 2021 will be able to graduate in commencement ceremonies at Drake Stadium.
NHS students are finishing their year virtually after the school suffered catastrophic damage when an EF4 tornado raged through the city on March 26, and the campus has been closed for inspection and repair since then.
Drake Stadium emerged mostly unharmed, allowing graduation to take place as originally planned on May 27. The time has been moved to 5 p.m. because of damage to the stadium’s lighting, ensuring the ceremonies will be held in daylight.
Newnan’s baseball field – adjacent to the stadium – also has been cleared for use, and the school’s annual senior picnic will be held there on May 17.
NHS Principal Chase Puckett said the school and its partners have been working every day since the storm to evaluate the storm damage, and to determine which parts of the campus are presently safe to use and what work will be needed to restore other parts of the campus.
“Our campus is still a mess, and we have a long way to go,” Puckett said. “But I can tell you that when the Newnan graduates walk out on this field, everyone is going to remember what it means to be a Newnan Cougar and why we say we are still Newnan Strong.”
Friday’s announcement sets the stage for all three high schools in the Coweta County School System to resume in-person commencement ceremonies, which were canceled last spring as the COVID-19 pandemic numbers surged.
All high schools will follow COVID protocols – similar to those followed during football season – for this year’s commencement ceremonies.
Social distancing will be enforced where possible, and stadiums will have limited capacity. East Coweta, which has the largest graduating class, will hold two ceremonies to allow for more participants during the ceremonies.
2021 Graduation Schedule
Newnan High School – Thursday, May 27, 5 p.m., Drake Stadium
Northgate High School – Friday, May 28, 7:30 p.m., Henry Seldon Field
East Coweta High School, graduates with last names ending in A-K – Thursday, May 27, 7 p.m., Shoemake Stadium
East Coweta High School, graduates with last names ending in L-M – Friday, May 28, 7 p.m., Shoemake Stadium
“Throughout this it has been important to everyone that we honor our seniors appropriately, and this is a testament to a lot of hard work that’s gone on,” Superintendent Evan Horton said.
View Friday’s announcement regarding Newnan High’s graduation here .