7 highschool graduates lastly obtained their diplomas — 52 years later

Some college students from the category of 1969 at La Plata Excessive Faculty had been punished for being a part of a sit-in that occurred the identical 12 months.

“The commencement got here on the heels of pupil unrest, a sit-in and protests spearheaded by black college students after no college students of shade had been chosen for the majorette or Warriorette squads,” Latina Wilson, chairperson of the Charles County Board of Training, mentioned on the ceremony.

The scholars who participated had been in a position to stroll for commencement in 1969, in keeping with Wilson, however the precise diplomas had been mailed to them after college ended for the 12 months. Seven diplomas by no means made it and had been returned to the Board of Training.

Fifty-two years later, in the course of the pandemic, Wilson mentioned the college employees discovered the diplomas nonetheless of their envelopes and determined to return them to their rightful homeowners.

“Your actions improved the tradition at La Plata Excessive Faculty and set an instance for college kids who would comply with,” Wilson mentioned. “You adopted your conscience and also you risked the implications. It may haven’t been straightforward to face your floor.”

The scholars’ actions and persistence led the college to agree that the choice was unjust. The board of training, on the time, even launched a press release saying that the method was undemocratic. The varsity got here up with a brand new choice course of that included each white and black judges as a direct results of the protest.

“We don’t want to deliver up outdated wounds,” former pupil Dale Contee mentioned earlier than she obtained her diploma. “Naturally we felt harm and disillusioned that we couldn’t obtain our diplomas with our classmates, however we wish to make it identified we had been peaceable again then and we’re peaceable at present.”

Contee mentioned not one of the college students have any animosity in direction of the present board of training.

“All that we suffered and endured didn’t make us bitter, it made us higher,” Contee mentioned.

These in attendance walked throughout the stage and eventually obtained their lengthy awaited diploma.



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