Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 91 into law on March 30, thereby creating new code section, O.C.G.A. §20-2-281.1. This law provided that students shall no longer be required to earn a passing score on any graduation tests to earn a high school diploma. The law also contains additional details and requirements regarding the rights of students no longer enrolled to petition the local board of education for a diploma. It also contains requirement for local school systems to advertise the availability of this opportunity for students whose sole reason for not receiving a high school diploma was due to not passing any part of the graduation tests.
Beginning April 15, 2015, Valdosta High School began accepting petition forms from students who enrolled in the 9th grade after July 1, 1981. These students had satisfied all course requirements and met additional criteria set forth in HB91.
Over 300 diplomas have been issued since April and of those, 75 chose to participate in the special graduation ceremony held on December 9 at the Valdosta High School Performing Arts Center.
The ceremony closely resembled the May graduation for traditional graduates. The graduates participated in a procession, the VHS NJROTC presented the colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a wonderful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Taurence Phillips, VHS chorus director. Superintendent, Dr. Todd Cason provided congratulatory remarks before presenting diplomas with the assistance of Valdosta Board of Education members. The graduation concluded with the audience singing the school’s Alma Mater.
For more information on the HB91 graduation or to inquire about petitioning for a diploma, contact Valdosta High School at (229) 333-8540.