Because of CoVID-19, the safety of our students, their families, and our employees is our top priority as we plan this year’s Graduation.  The ceremony will take place outside in the parking lot of the Frances H. Henry Baseball Field.  Strict social distancing guidelines will be enforced, and all participants will keep a distance of at least six feet. Please scroll to the bottom for specific guidelines.


Gaston Day School is proud to announce that Mr. Davis Warlick, will be the 2019-2020 GDS Commencement Speaker on Saturday, May 30 at 11am at the Frances H. Henry Athletic Complex.
Davis Warlick, the Executive Vice President of Parkdale Mills, is a native of Gastonia, North Carolina. Warlick’s grandfather, W. Duke Kimbrell, was a founding member of Gaston Day School in 1967.  Warlick’s parents, Pamela Kimbrell Warlick and Anderson Davis Warlick, both graduated from Gaston Day School in 1975. Warlick himself was a Gaston Day School lifer and a 2004 graduate. He holds a B.A. in business from the University of Georgia’s Terry School of Business, and a master’s degree in business administration from Wake Forest University.
Warlick began his career at Parkdale Mills in 2008. He has served in many roles, beginning as a Management Trainee, and advancing to Production Supervisor, Assistant Plant Manager and eventually becoming the Plant Manager of the Belmont, North Carolina facility. Warlick soon transitioned into his current leadership position as Executive Vice President, responsible for international manufacturing and sales.
Since assuming the position as Executive Vice President at Parkdale, Warlick has led significant community efforts. When an earthquake struck one of the Parkdale mills in Mexico in 2017, Warlick witnessed the effects of the disaster on his 350 employees. Within three months, he helped his employees build new and better homes that could withstand an earthquake. Locally, he has collaborated to revamp and expand Gaston Day’s Kimbrell Scholars Program focusing on making Gaston Day accessible to students who make impacts in their communities.
Warlick is married to Annie Smith Warlick. They have three children, Anderson (3), Smith (2), and Willard Duke (8 months). They reside in Charlotte, North Carolina.
 Gaston Day is honored to have Davis Warlick back to his alma mater to be our 2020 Commencement speaker. 


Makale Laython Armstrong
Sidney Hall Bing
Olivia Catherine Cole
Russell Trammell Costner II
William George D’Amore
Abigail Elaine Dills
Hannah Elizabeth Dove
Alonzo Kiyear Edmond
Tom David Efird II
Dylan Rhys Gibbs
Madison Blair Ginther
Nathan Joel Granetz
Ellen Grace Hamilton
Cameron Fitzgerald Harris
Charles Patrick Henry
Angela Cheyenne Hoffman
Kaitlyn Abigail Horky
Hantao “Jacky” Hu
Lauralee Elizabeth Hurst
Wenzhou “Nicholas” Lyu
Lily Catherine McGrath
Henry Tyler McMillan
Lea XueLian Norman
Katherine Baker Sanders
Sarah Elizabeth Scoggins
Yucheng “George” Shi
Portia Kenora Shouse
Marshall Davis Spencer
Richard Ethan Van Meter
Emily Dina Vandaele
Jessica Tate Wallace
Kexin “Zoe” Wang
Hunter Nathaniel Warren
Lauren Elise Wilkes
Anjing “Eve” Ye


Both the ceremony and drive-thru celebration will take place rain or shine.  If there is severe weather, we will delay the events until it is safe for all participants.  

Each graduate is permitted to have one vehicle on campus for the ceremony.  Families may bring as many guests that can legally and safely ride in that vehicle.  Guests will not be able to view the ceremony from an open convertible or from the bed of a truck.

All seniors should attend a mandatory virtual graduation rehearsal on Thursday, May 28 at 1:00 pm to review all guidelines and procedures. We’ve moved this back one day so that it takes place after the parent meeting in case changes need to be made to our plans. Seniors will be sent a Google Hangout Meet invite to participate.  At this meeting, we will review the ceremony program, how students will come to the stage to receive their diplomas, plans for photographs, and details about the parade. This session will be recorded and shared for future reference. 

The planning committee has determined that the most challenging part of this modified ceremony is the parking of cars on the baseball field parking lot.  We want the day of Graduation to go smoothly for everyone without having concerns about everyone being able to fit in the assigned area, see the stage, and hear the speakers.  We think it would be best for parents to come to campus to practice the ceremony layout so that the planning committee can make necessary adjustments before Saturday.  If you are available, we invite you to come to campus in the vehicle you plan to bring to Graduation at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 27 and meet at the baseball field parking lot. Parents are expected to stay in their vehicles throughout the entire meeting and listen to details that will be given over the audio system after parking is complete.  I will send out a detailed layout next week with additional instructions.  We are hoping to livestream or record this meeting for parents that are unable to attend in person.

Absolutely!  We are still keeping most of the traditional moments, including an address from our Valedictorian and Salutatorian, a message from this year’s guest speaker, Davis Warlick, a presentation of awards, and the awarding of diplomas.  A digital program will be sent out prior to the event, and hard copies will be distributed to each senior after the ceremony.

Unfortunately, to keep safe social distancing, we will not be able to do a traditional procession.  Students will arrive and sit in an assigned seat.  Also, because we do not have the ability to show a video, the Senior Tribute that is typically shared at the end of the ceremony will be shared via email.

Please invite your friends and family to celebrate the Class of 2020 at our first ever Graduation Celebration Drive-Thru! The graduate may invite only their guardians and siblings to stand at their sign with them for the drive-thru. Grandparents, aunts/uncles, and extended family are invited to drive through the ceremony, but they may not be at the sign with the graduates. Also, we encourage graduates and their immediate family members to bring chairs as this may be a long event! All graduates and their parents are invited to return to campus after 3:30pm and find their assigned location around the GDS campus driveway.  We will then open campus gates from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm for family, teachers, friends, alumni, and community members to drive through campus and congratulate all of our seniors on this special day. Please see the map for the drive-thru route. 

The seniors have asked if they can decorate their mortarboards this year.  Yes!  We only ask that the decoration represent them, is school appropriate, and is positive about the situation. We are also being very relaxed on attire as we know it may be hot on May 30.  Seniors may choose to wear a dress under their gown or they may choose to wear dress pants (no jeans or patterns) with a collared shirt (short or long-sleeve is acceptable; a tie is not required).  We encourage all seniors to wear comfortable shoes. How to dress for the parade…we ask graduates to dress in the spirit of the dress code and wear what they would typically wear to the graduation parties that normally take place this time of year.  After all, this is our graduation party for them!! Finally, as recommended by local health officials, all participants will be required to wear a mask/facial covering.

We are planning for two different scenarios based on the guidelines from our local health department at that time.  One involves students sitting spread out on the parking lot with families viewing the ceremony from their cars.  The other involves students staying in their cars with families during the ceremony and coming out one at a time to pick up their diplomas. CLICK HERE for parking assignments.

Families of graduates will be required to stay in their vehicles. Each family will be assigned a spot CLICK HERE forming a circle around the center of the parking lot where the stage will be set.  Spots are pre-assigned in order to coordinate the receiving of diplomas alphabetically while allowing social distancing.  Since families do not need to arrive early to reserve seating, campus gates will open at 10:30 am.  We will be using the sound system at the baseball field.  Families will be asked to only roll down the drivers’ side window while parked in order to hear each speaker and keep a safe distance from the next car.  

We know that the limitations will prevent some family and friends from participating.  For that reason, we will be recording the entire ceremony and making it available free of charge to all families after the event.  

Don’t worry!  We plan to have a photographer on site capturing this special moment for you.  A digital copy of all images will be made available free of charge to our families after the ceremony.  An order form will be available if you would like to purchase prints.  

We will also have a photographer available after the ceremony for families to get a group photo in front of the PKW.  This is the only time family members will be permitted to exit their vehicles.  Due to time limitations, the photographer will be able to get three photos of each graduate: individual, parents or immediate family, and all guests.  All families must be off campus by 2:30pm.   

No.  All guests and graduates should keep this in mind as you plan for the day.  The bathrooms at the baseball field and PKW will be closed and only available for emergencies. 


SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2020