Schools honor 5th, 8th graders virtually amid COVID-19 pandemic

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Not only is it time for high school graduations, but elementary and middle school celebrations as well. With graduations postponed because of COVID-19, the Bibb County School District is making sure 5th and 8th graders aren’t forgotten as they find ways to celebrate them.

“It breaks my heart that we’re not able to end this year together,” said Tyler Burns, 5th grade teacher at Vineville Academy of the Arts.
What is meant to be a time for 5th graders to celebrate before their middle school endeavors, and 8th graders going from middle to high school has become a time of virtual honoring.
“It’s a huge deal. They don’t consider themselves babies anymore,” said Tanya Allen, Burdell Hunt Elementary School Principal.
“We can honor them in several ways. The main way is staying connected, whether that’s Facebook live, Teams, video chatting,” Burns said.
Allen says 5th graders usually have a “moving up” ceremony at the end of the year. However, this year teachers are collecting pictures of students for a montage to post on social media.
“The teachers have all agreed we’re going to do a student data base and pull some pictures off and flash it as we call each student’s name,” Allen said.
Jim Montgomery — principal of Miller Magnet Middle School — says students usually take trips to Atlanta, Savannah, have a dance, and a formal ceremony.

“On social media, on Twitter, Facebook, we’re going to create videos, we’re going to create posts on other platforms to share videos and photos, but we have a huge surprise for our families that we’re working on,” Montgomery said.

Teachers say they want students to know, they support them during this time of uncertainty.

“We just want to celebrate them and let them know they are loved.”