Moms and dads, mark your calendars. Next year's graduation ceremonies for Lawrence and Free State high schools will be May 27.
That's the Sunday before Memorial Day. It's also a week after Kansas University's commencement.
Lawrence school board members picked the date Monday, hoping to negate a repeat of both KU's and the high schools' ceremonies happening on the same day.
The ceremonies will be at KU's Memorial Stadium. In case of inclement weather, one or both will move to Allen Fieldhouse.
"I'm glad the board voted to do what was in the best interest of the kids," said Jamie Hulse, a parent and co-chairman of Project Graduation 2007, the after-commencement party aimed at providing graduates with an alternative to gatherings that may involve alcohol.
Board members spent more than an hour sorting through the pros and cons of allowing the three graduations to coincide, holding the ceremonies on a weekday, and opting for Memorial Day weekend.
Though this year's ceremonies went smoothly, many families complained that relatives were unable to find hotel rooms - many of those who did reported feeling gouged after being charged higher-than-usual prices - and traffic in and out of Haskell Indian Nations University's Memorial Stadium was nightmarish.
More about the next school year
- 6News video: Separate days set for 2007 graduations
- High school seniors go out in style (05-22-06)
- 6News video: Next year's graduation date likely to change (05-21-06)
- Weseman: Grad clash not in cards next year (05-18-06)
- Governor signs school finance bill into law (05-20-06)
- All hope lost for all-day kindergarten (05-16-06)
Joe Muiller, Lawrence High School student body president-elect, said LHS students preferred KU's stadium over Haskell's.
"It's tradition," Muiller said. "That's what we're all about."
This year's ceremonies were moved to Haskell because of the scheduling conflict with KU.
About 4,000 people attended each of the high school commencements. Afterward, 529 students attended Project Graduation at Abe & Jake's Landing, 8 E. Sixth St.
School officials wondered about the consequence of the 10-day gap between senior finals next year and graduation.
"Ten days - that's a long time," Supt. Randy Weseman said. "There could be a lot of celebrations going on the weekend in between that aren't monitored."
Hulse and LHS principal Steve Nilhas assured the group that Project Graduation would meet the challenge.
"We'll make it work for the community and for the kids," Nilhas said.
Board members ruled out reconfiguring winter and spring breaks to push senior finals back a week because that would have caused non-seniors to be in school after Memorial Day.
Under state law, seniors must be in school 1,086 hours their senior year. For other students, it's 1,116 hours.
Scheduling graduation on a weekday was ruled out because of many parents not being able to get off work.
In other action:
¢ Several students were noted for advancing to the National History Day Competition in Washington, D.C., on June 11-15.
From Central Junior High: Hannah Lodwick, Sara Cortese, Rosemary O'Malley, Aly Frydman, Tess Frydman, Zoe Limesand, Liza Farr and Zoey Hearn Feldman.
From Lawrence High School: Sam Huneke, Timmia Hearn Feldman, Ryan King, Ben Kincaid and Tim Hagen.
¢ Cheryl Nelsen, journalism teacher at FSHS, was cited for being named to the Kansas Scholastic Journalism Hall of Fame.
Nelsen, who has taught in Lawrence public schools for 29 years, is retiring.