J.Z. George High School in North Carrollton will graduate 68 seniors during a ceremony outside the high school gym at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Members of the Class of 2020 will receive diplomas individually but through a parade with cars holding one graduate each. The ceremony will be livestreamed and will include pre-recorded speeches by Carson Skelton, valedictorian, and Jasmine Newman, salutatorian.

Carson Skelton


Skelton, 17, a resident of western Carroll County and the son of Robert Skelton, is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average and was named a STAR Student. He expects to enroll at Mississippi State University next semester.

“My favorite subject is math, and when I go to college, I am majoring in computer science,” Skelton said. “I was thinking about doing something like becoming a software engineer. If I find another occupation along the way that I would enjoy more, it could change.”

He said his senior year, which was interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak, has been fine. “I have been home just a little bit more, that is all.”

He doesn’t know for sure whether Mississippi State will be holding classes on campus in the fall.

His valedictory speech will have three topics: the coronavirus, “not rushing through your childhood,” and a quote from the late comedian Milton Berle: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

Jasmine Newman


Newman, 18, is the daughter of Charles and Cynthia Newman of Winona, and her mother works at J.Z. George. She said she had not yet been informed about her final grade point average.

Newman said she had a good senior year, despite the disrupted second semester. She was in the homecoming court and she played point guard on the varsity basketball team. She enjoyed studying math, advanced world geography, theater and construction.

She said she is sorry that her class won’t have a traditional graduation ceremony but understands why  it can’t. “Carroll County has a lot of cases, and no one wants to get sick. So the drive-through is fine with me.”

She’s heading for Holmes Community College in Goodman in the fall and intends to continue at the University of Southern Mississippi. Newman said she is interested in architectural engineering.

“I want to do engineering, and then I want a mixture of architecture in there with it,” she explained.

For her speech as salutatorian, she will talk about “some of the memories we have had in high school and a little bit about COVID-19 — and advice for the future.”

•Contact Susan Montgomery at 581-7241 or smontgomery@gwcommonwealth.com.

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