A Kell High School graduate shows her enthusiasm while retrieving her cap and gown. The last day of school in the Cobb County School District was May 20.
Photo: Cobb County School District
Photo: Cobb County School District

Despite COVID-19 challenges, 9,000 students graduate from Cobb schools

Cobb County's class of 2020 students have wrapped up a senior year that had many end-of-year traditions stripped away by the coronavirus pandemic.

The last day of school was Wednesday. Students will pick up their diplomas this week and next at drive-thru events marking the end of their high school careers.

About 9,000 seniors have graduated from the Cobb County School District, and more than 80% of those students plan to attend a two- or four-year university, the school system said. 

An Osborne High School graduate who received his cap and gown poses for a photo.
Photo: Cobb County School District

Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said Cobb seniors “have shown resiliency, determination, and the ability to overcome obstacles,” and are ready to move on to the next chapter of their lives.

“Our job as educators is to equip students with the skills and knowledge to succeed no matter the circumstances, and I am confident that our 9,000 graduates are prepared to succeed on whichever career or educational path they have chosen,” he said.

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Cobb schools closed March 16 due to the pandemic and began digital lessons so students learning from home could stay on track. The closure meant many students weren’t able to attend prom, see their friends, partake in senior-related activities at school or participate in traditional graduation ceremonies

A McEachern High School graduate stands next to a sign congratulating seniors.
Photo: Cobb County School District

Since the district postponed in-person graduation ceremonies, individual schools used creative ways to honor their seniors. For example, Kell and Kennesaw Mountain high schools held parades on their campuses while South Cobb and Lassiter high schools created videos bidding farewell to graduates, the district added. These students were also given the opportunity to pick up their cap and gowns at their respective schools. 

The class of 2020 also has 23 students who were named by the Georgia Department of Education as Georgia Scholars. According to the school district, the average grade point average for its valedictorians was 4.69.

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Graduates from McEachern High School have earned more than $15.8 million in scholarships. Hillgrove students have received $13.7 million while Wheeler students earned $12 million in scholarships. Cobb says the closure has made tracking the number of scholarships more difficult, so “the actual scholarship totals for Cobb Schools are estimated to be even higher.”

Pebblebrook High School congratulates graduating seniors.
Photo: Cobb County School District

The school district said some of its graduates will embark on their collegiate academic careers at prestigious schools such as Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Georgia and the United States Military Academy. 

The school district said it will release videos in coming weeks that will honor the class of 2020.

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