Free State High School graduation will look a lot like Lawrence High School's -- just with fewer people.
High school graduation is full of time-honored traditions.
Lawrence High School is no exception. The school, more than 100 years old, has years upon years of graduations to pull from when planning its ceremony.
``Our program will be pretty close to what it has always been,'' said Mike Browning, assistant principal at Lawrence High School.
Free State High School, which opened last fall, has no graduation traditions of its own. The new high school in Lawrence will borrow its form from LHS this year when it graduates 115 seniors.
Free State seniors will march to ``Pomp and Circumstance'' at 4 p.m. May 24, just hours before LHS' graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. Both graduations will be at Allen Fieldhouse on the Kansas University campus.
``Everything is going smoothly,'' Browning said.
LHS expects to graduate 480 seniors this year. Browning said that the format of the ceremony will be the same as it has been in the past, with speeches first, then honors and presentation of diplomas.
Speakers at the ceremony will include Lawrence school Supt. Al Azinger; Mary Loveland, president of the school board; and two graduating seniors.
At Free State's graduation, Azinger and principal Joe Snyder will speak, along with two senior speakers.
Seniors at both schools audition for the opportunity to speak during graduation ceremonies.
One change from past years will be the graduates' seating. Instead of being seated on the basketball court, they will sit in courtside bleachers.
Before the new high school was opened, LHS graduated an average of 550 to 600 students a year.
With the addition of Free State this year, high school seniors were given a choice of schools to attend. Consequently, Free State's graduating class is much smaller than Lawrence High's. Next year, however, Steve Grant, Free State's activities director, predicts that each of two high schools will graduate 300 to 350 students.
Lawrence Alternative High School graduates in the past have been part of the LHS graduation. This year, students will attend graduation with Free State students, if they live in the Free State attendance area, and they'll attend graduation with LHS students, if they live in the LHS attendance area.
Grant said that although this was his first year planning a graduation, things had gone smoothly. He said Browning and other LHS staff members had coached him through the preparations.
``They've been real helpful to me.''
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