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Newton graduation moving to Lithonia church
Larger class means NHS outgrows Springfield
(Darrell Everidge | The Covington News)

COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton High School’s 2020 graduation will move to a Lithonia church to allow each student to have more tickets than in the past.

The Newton County School System released plans Wednesday for the 2020 commencement services for Alcovy, Eastside and Newton high schools.

Eastside students will graduate at 7 p.m. Friday, May 22, at Springfield Baptist Church in Conyers. About 300 students are expected to receive their diplomas.

Due to a larger senior class this year with more than 600 students, Newton will hold its service at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 23.

Later that afternoon, Alcovy’s graduation will begin at 3 p.m. back at Springfield Baptist Church as more than 420 seniors are expected to walk across the stage.

“We had to make alternate arrangements for Newton High School this year as the Springfield Baptist Church just isn’t large enough to accommodate the school’s graduates and their guests,” Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey said in a statement.

“In years past, Newton families have not received as many graduation tickets to attend the ceremony as their counterparts at Alcovy and Eastside and this year there are even more graduates — more than 600 students are expected to participate in the ceremony this year.

“Utilizing New Birth Baptist Church, which has a seating capacity of 6,000 compared to 3,000 at Springfield Baptist Church, allows for a more equitable distribution of family tickets across the three high schools.”

Fuhrey said the district’s operations division considered numerous venues including the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, the Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth and Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, but found them cost-prohibitive or unavailable due to scheduling conflicts.

“Many residents also ask about conducting graduation ceremonies at Sharp Stadium, but it too is cost prohibitive,” Fuhrey said.

“By the time we rent the stage, sound equipment and chairs for graduates, and pay for setup and security, you’re looking at well over $30,000. We held graduation at Sharp in 2012 and had several elderly guests suffer heat-related illness during the ceremonies so there’s also that to contend with.

“And of course, if it rains, there would be no alternate location available to accommodate all of the graduates and guests. As a result, we feel this is the best option.

“Perhaps one day in the future, there will be a venue in Newton County that can accommodate our graduations.”