Long-awaited graduation ceremonies happening this week for Volusia County seniors

Seniors in Volusia County will walk across the stage as rehearsals and ceremonies kick-off at the Ocean Center this week. 

Rehearsals begin on Monday with ceremonies for each high school starting on Thursday. 

"Really excited about finally getting there," said dad Michael Walter. 

The school district released protocols including temperature checks, sanitation stations, cleaning between rehearsals and ceremonies, along with no hugs or handshakes allowed. 

 "We know that there’s enough space in the Ocean Center. On average, we’re going to occupy about 12 percent of the Ocean Center," said board member Ruben Colon. 

He said masks will be required as the City of Daytona Beach has a mask mandate in place. 

He said with cases climbing, it has been a top conversation for school leaders, ultimately feeling it's safe to move forward with the plan. 

"As the pandemic numbers have risen, we have revisited this several times, and because the seats are going to be situated in a way to allow the distance, all the stakeholders felt it would still be safe to have this event," he said.

Walters is proud of his daughter, but also proud of helping lift the voices of hundreds of parents. 

He created an online petition asking the district to consider a different venue so graduates could bring more than two guests.

The petition was signed nearly 2,000 times.

"They heard our voice. They responded and we’re thankful for that," he said. Now, it’s time to just shift the focus from that to the kids and make sure they have a special day... Make sure that they are celebrated in the way that they deserve." 

The ceremonies will be live-streamed on www.vcsedu.org/.