About 15 people gathered in a circle Tuesday morning, standing outside a Person High School activity bus.
After a short prayer, they bounded onto the bus or into a couple other waiting cars and took off caravan-style from the school led by a sheriff’s deputy and trailed by a volunteer firefighter.
It was the second day of the school’s effort to go to the home of each senior in the Class of 2020 to recognize their graduation, take pictures and share information and hugs.
The tour will last throughout the week. School administrators, coaches and teachers took to the road to celebrate the senior class in lieu of many of the traditional events that take place each spring. And, while not every student was home at each house the group stopped at, plenty were.
As the caravan reached each house, the sheriff’s deputy and the volunteer firefighter let their sirens wail to announce the party’s arrival. Students walked out to greet the visitors and smiles were easy to find at each stop. As celebration music blared from a portable speaker, parents, grandparents and other family members had their cell phones out recording the visits and taking pictures of their own. Faculty members mostly remained on the bus, waving pom poms through the open windows of the bus and cheering for the students.
The tour began Monday with visits to each senior within the city limits of Roxboro. On Tuesday, the group traveled into Hurdle Mills. Other days took the group south to Timberlake, east to Allensville and north toward Virgilina.
PHS principal Jonte Hill proposed the idea for the home visits to Person County Schools Superintendent Rodney Peterson. Peterson liked the idea and he told school board members that he even offered to have some of the central office staff help with the visits. But Hill wasn’t looking for any help.
“He was pretty adamant that he wanted to see every senior himself and he thought that was important, so I commend him for that,” Peterson said.
The bus tour is just one way among many that the school is altering its approach to graduation this year. Many of the year-end festivities that normally take place over food will happen on line this year. The senior awards program will be pre-recorded and broadcast on the school system’s YouTube Channel May 25. The next night, the school will air the North Carolina Scholar’s program and on Friday, May 27, the school will celebrate athletes with the athletic awards program. All three events will be posted at 6 p.m.