New Bern celebrates high school graduation of covid freshmen

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) – Four years ago, the class of 2024 had a rocky start to high school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, they’re beginning their next chapter with smiles on their faces and diplomas in hand.

The New Bern High School stadium filled with cheers from friends and families during Friday’s graduation ceremony.

While in eighth grade, these students saw firsthand how the pandemic affected their day-to-day school life, resulting in their first year of high school being entirely online.

One father, Deandre Cox, expressed pride in his son’s achievement, despite missing out on basketball his freshman year.

“You know, you lose a year of basically eligibility as far as playing. A lot of times, that’s what kind of motivates these kids to even stay in school. So when you have things like that happening, the world was just so different then. So, you know, I’m glad everybody and all these kids persisted through that time,” said Cox.

Graduate Mercer Hartman reflected on the challenges of remote learning but felt it was worth it in the end.

“Yeah, it was weird. I spent my first day of high school sitting on my couch, you know, on a computer, and did that for about a year. But we came a long way. We were here for a little bit wearing masks and stuff, but now we’re all out and free. It’s awesome!” said Hartman.

Another graduate, Nikko Garramone, shared his excitement about returning to in-person classes and celebrating his achievement with his family.

“I mean, you know, you couldn’t go back to school [2020 freshman year]. That was not exciting, but we went back to school and it was worth it because I got my diploma and stuff. As long as I got my diploma, that’s all that matters right?” said Garramone.

New Bern High School witnessed over 325 graduates Friday as thousands of family and friends cheered them on.

All Craven County high schools held graduation ceremonies Friday morning. Staff members at New Bern High School say they are looking forward to the class of 2025.