Meeting in a special session in what will likely be their last remote setting, Swansboro commissioners approved a parade permit request submitted by Swansboro High School.

The special session on Tuesday, May 26, took place by way of the Zoom platform.

Anna Stanley, Swansboro Parks and Recreation director, prepared the agenda item for the commissioners. The application is for the Swansboro High School Class of 2020 Motorcade to be Saturday, June 13.

“This idea came from a student,” Mayor John Davis said.

Due to restrictions on numbers of people allowed to assembly – the result of efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 – there will be no traditional graduation ceremony this year. A virtual ceremony is planned, but the parade will be live public display, within the social-distancing rules set by Gov. Roy Cooper, for the senior class. The virtual graduation was filmed May 28 and will be broadcast on June 12 at 7 p.m.

The June 13 motorcade will begin at 9 a.m. at School Road, proceed east on N.C. 24, turn right onto Old Hammock Road, right onto Hammocks Beach Road and conclude, according to information from Stanley.

Spectators along the route are encouraged to stay in their vehicles, according to Stanley, who, along with Ken Jackson, chief of the Swansboro Police Department, has met with school officials seeking the permit.

On a question from Commissioner P.J. Pugliese, Stanley said only one lane of N.C. 24, between School Road and Old Hammock Road, would be closed.

“OK,” he said, “that sounds good.”

Commissioner Frank Tursi expressed some concerns.

“I don’t seen a problem to it,” Tursi said, unless people get out of their vehicles. “If we’re totally relying on the good sense of people, I have a problem with that ... unless we are willing to enforce that.”

Crowds for various events under Phase 2 of the governor’s plan for reopening are limited, 25 in some cases, 10 in others. Tursi’s concern is that people along the parade wink exit there vehicles and gather.

“Are we willing to enforce that?” he asked.

Jackson said that fliers would be distributed establishing the rules for social distancing during the parade. He also said officers would be posted along the route to make sure the rules are followed.

“Whatever is allowed ... we’ll enforce that,” he said.

Tursi said he would support the parade, “If Ken can assure us ... officers will be willing ... to tell them to disperse.”

“We’ll make sure we’re in compliance with what’s going on,” Jackson said.

Commissioner Larry Philpott suggested the town purchase and post a banner along the parade route congratulating the senior class.

Chris Seaberg, town manager, was given the go-ahead to look into purchasing a banner.

“It would be a good gesture, if the board sees fit,” he said.

A motion to approve the permit was approved by a 5-0 vote of the commissioners.

Ryan Reagle, SHS assistant principal, thank the board for the OK.

“We sincerely appreciate that,” he said. “We appreciate your support in allowing this to happen. Thank you all so much.”

Prior to adjournment, Tursi addressed Reagle and asked hime to urge the students to act responsibly during the event.

“We’re relying on them to do this safely,” Tursi said.

A formal presentation of diplomas is planned for the week of June 15, according to Helen Gross, SHS principal.

Email Jimmy Williams at jimmy@tidelandnews.com.

(2) comments

David Collins

Closing one lane of HY 24 in tourist season , really ? Where will the cheering masses be allowed to park ? Police to enforce social distancing , heck they can’t even slow down the speeders . Sounds like a cluster**** .

David Collins

May well have stressed compliance but observed precious little of it and no enforcement in sight . Also the trail of pirate blue balloons littering both roads to Hammocks Beach and the detached posters in the ditches was disappointing . Signs of the times , I guess . The brainiac that chose to drive his decorated golf cart , in the rain , filled with passengers and a congratulations poster attached to the windshield impeding his ability to safely navigate the state road was a nice touch . Now really , what could have possibly gone wrong with that stunt ?

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