Archive for Tuesday, May 23, 2006

2007 grad date chosen

School board selects May 27, avoiding the same day as KU

May 23, 2006


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.

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.


countrygirl 12 years ago

So why didn't they do this for this year?

i_have_only_valid_opinions 12 years ago

Bad decision any way you look at it. What are the pros of having high school graduation on Memorial Day weekend versus a weekday? And a 10 day gap? Everyone will be wanting to be on vacation within 10 days of getting out of school and then you take away the long holiday weekend from the parents as well? Graduation should be over and families should be vacationing together by then. What's next? Is KU going to have their winter graduation on Christmas Eve?

mom_of_three 12 years ago

In my hometown, my high school graduation was during the week, and I don't remember any conflicts with my working parents. The convocation(?) was on a Sunday, and the graduation was held on the following Tuesday.
Lots of schools bigger than LHS and Freestate have their graduations during the week.
It is easier for out of town friends and relatives to attend on weekends, but I am not sure about the Memorial Day weekend thing. Doesn't it kind of bring the moment down when a senior is done with finals, but has to wait 10 days to formally graduate?

Christine Pennewell Davis 12 years ago

10 days is a long wait for grad. and I do not think memorial weekend is a good idea but a friday or saturday is a good optoin alot of schools do not have grad. on sundays. a a week day is also a good idea. If the city did during the week LHS could be on one day and FSHS on another, but ten days is too long I think most kids would love to take there last test and have there diploma the next day not wait ten days come on school board get a grip on reality for a change

i_have_only_valid_opinions 12 years ago

i graduated from an out of state school and we had graduation on a wednesday. if i had to wait 10 days just to walk and get my diploma, i wouldn't show up. this will ruin the moment for the grads. it's like getting married and having to wait a week to have your reception and "enjoy" your wedding night.

savethedaffy 12 years ago

10 days for us to go out and party unmonitored...hopefully then it'll give another assistant principal ample time to get aressted for a DUI.

mom_of_three 12 years ago

I did read the transcript. Maybe the Project Graduation group needs to coordinate with the school board, and not the other way around.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 12 years ago

and yet maybe, just maybe, the focus should be on the graduating student and their timing needs to make the most of THEIR educational successes and make graduation as enjoyable as possible (i.e. not 10 days later). Incoming family, school admin and especially the Project Graduation group can work with the needs of the STUDENTS.

JustLovingIt 12 years ago

How quickly we all jump to conclusions without the necessary research. The students were polled. The students were asked which venue they prefer and which date they prefer. The majority preferred to wait until Memorial Weekend so that a conflict would not exist with KU, so that they could have Memorial Stadium (tradition), and so that their families would have the greatest opportunity to attend!

GardenMomma 12 years ago

Maybe they can graduate on a Saturday and have a party on that Sunday.

JustLovingIt 12 years ago

It is all about the kids! There is no perfect solution that will make every person happy. However, this is a great decision by our Board to recognize that the students who graduate will have every opportunity to share this huge moment in their life with those that they locally and from a distance.

By the way....the wait is really 7 days....the change pushes this back from one Sunday to the next.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 12 years ago


were the kids given a choice of a day(s) in the middle of the week, or were they just given the choice of memorial day weekend or the sunday that conflicted with KU? how do you know that the students were polled? not trying to be snotty, just asking. if they voted for the date from a host of good options then that is different. i will give you that. that surprises me though.

JustLovingIt 12 years ago

It is not possible to graduate the week earlier because the students have not satisfied their classroom requirements. Mid week was discussed and I think it was reported that mid week was problematic for many reasons and it came down to the same weekend as KU at Haskell or the following Sunday at Memorial Stadium. As I understand it, the kids were asked two questions: If they preferred to graduate on the same weekend as KU or the following Sunday....and, If they preferred any particular venue.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 12 years ago

well, i guess if that's what the majority wants...

mom_of_three 12 years ago

My kid will be graduating in a couple of years. It will probably change again by then.

mom_of_three 12 years ago

What wonder what devices the students will come up with in the 10 days between finals and Project graduation??

JustLovingIt 12 years ago

Constant second guessing is prevelant on this about if we all applaud those who got involved, participated in the discussion, reached out to each other in a spirit of cooperation, and came to a decision that was in the best interest of the kids. To think that the questions/comments made here were not a part of the discussion and were not considered to begin with is naive.


GardenMomma 12 years ago

Pilgrim, so what do you think they are going to do in the days between the end of finals and graduation -- just wait quietly for the "supervised party?"

Why doesn't the party move to another venue? Surely there is more than one non-alcoholic venue in town that can hold 700 students.

JustLovingIt 12 years ago

The last day for 2007 senior finals is Friday 5/18.

Commencement practice is Monday 5/21.

Graduation is Sunday 5/27.

So graduating seniors have Tuesday through Saturday off before graduation. The majority of comments from students graduating in 2007 were..."GREAT! A few days off!!!" A few days to savor high school.

How many days off between a college student's last final and graduation? How many college students take their last final in August or December, move away to take a job and return in May to participate in graduation??? Students who VALUE the education they received and want to validate "I've GRADUATED!!!" will show up to the ceremony whenever and wherever it is.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 12 years ago

JustLovingIt - "Students who VALUE the education they received and want to validate "I've GRADUATED!!!" will show up to the ceremony whenever and wherever it is."

I disagree, and I know from personal experience. My college graduation was scheduled for 6 days after my last final. I was relocating to Kansas for a job I had accepted and missed my graduation ceremony because I had to start the trek out here to make it to my first day of work. I absolutely value my higher education and have been successful in life because of it. Circumstances dictacted that I miss the ceremony, but I wouldn't have missed it if the university hadn't gotten overly concerned about scheduling the ceremony around another state school's grad ceremony. I think you made a blanket statement here that isn't valid.

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