Archive for Tuesday, April 10, 2012

High school graduation dates to change in 2013

April 10, 2012


The tradition of when Lawrence and Free State high school graduates flip their tassels is in for a change.

On Monday, the board approved moving the district’s 2013 graduation date from a Sunday afternoon in late May to a weekday evening.

Free State High School Principal Ed West and Lawrence High School Principal Matt Brungardt rattled off a number of reasons why this move made sense.

In the past, the two high school graduations have been held on the same Sunday afternoon a week or two after Kansas University’s graduation. It often fell on Memorial Day weekend. The school district has to coordinate around KU’s graduation so the schools can use Allen Fieldhouse in case of bad weather.

In some cases, the arrangement could mean having graduation up to 12 days after the last day of class, when many seniors have already taken off for the summer.

“If we wait for extended period of time, the seniors become disconnected,” West said.

In light of those issues, the district’s graduation day committee felt it would be better to have graduation on a weekday that closely followed senior’s last day of classes.

The evening hours could also mean cooler weather for the ceremonies. Last year’s graduation took place in sweltering 90-degree temperatures with some folks having to leave. And, having the ceremonies on two separate days would make it easier for those who want to attend both graduations.

This school year, graduation is set for May 20, with Free State graduating at 1 p.m. and Lawrence High at 4 p.m. However, those days will change in 2013. One school will hold graduation ceremonies on Tuesday, May 21, and the other will have graduation on Wednesday, May 22.

If the 2013 graduation goes well, the two school principals said a consistent and permanent plan should be put in place.

The board also approved next year’s school calendar.


Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 2 months ago

What an asinine idea. The nice thing about having it on Memorial Day weekend was that it allowed out of town family to easily travel and attend. Now out of town family and friends will have to take off time from work in order to attend. This will also have an effect on project graduation and attendance by the grads at this event. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

ECM 6 years, 2 months ago

Maria I agree with you. If not Memorial Day weekend a weekend is far better than in the middle of the week. Being in the evening and the middle of the week will make it not possible to have a family gathering before, people will be at work or after the ceremony, people need to get home to go to work the next day. Maybe, just maybe the students and parents should have been surveyed about this.

Sharon Nottingham 6 years, 2 months ago

I agree. When my daughter graduated last year ALL of our family members had to travel... over 35 people came to her graduation party from Texas, Colorado, Wichita, and South Dakota. NEITHER of our sides live nearby. Thank goodness she got to have them attend, because they woul not be able to miss that much work otherwise. The district needs to open their eyes because this will cause a disconnect with families.

lily 6 years, 2 months ago

There are ways to make it work on a weekend. Does everything have to be motivated around KU? Is Allen Fieldhouse the only option? Moving it to a weeknight does take away from out of town family members sharing in the special occasion and the volunteers for the after graduation party now have to rethink things. I think it makes it more stressful for parents too.

mom_of_three 6 years, 2 months ago

I graduated on a Tuesday, but a few years ago, the high school changed graduation to a Sunday. The other high school I attended also used to have mid-week graduation, but also moved to a weekend, because its easier for family to attend.
Course neither of them had to contend with sharing a fieldhouse in bad weather. They were already held in a gym.

Laura Wilson 6 years, 2 months ago

This is nothing new. I graduated from LHS on a Tuesday night. Elementary school was still in session, so families were still in town. It was a nice night, not too hot (and this was a LOT later in May than the current grad dates), and fun. Much better than the miserably humid Sunday afternoon a few years later when I graduated from KU.

hail2oldku 6 years, 2 months ago

How long ago was that because I've lived in town for over 30 years and don't remember a midweek graduation for Lawrence High.

Also, it couldn't have been any later than 2 days after the current date of Memorial Day weekend given that Memorial Day is the LAST Monday of the month.

Carrie Coffey 6 years, 2 months ago

BIG MISTAKE......BIG MISTAKE, glad my nephew is graduating on a weekend so all of our out of town families will be able to enjoy this wonderful moment. Can't say too much for my other niece and nephew who will be graduating during the week later in the years to come. OMG, that is just a bad call on the principals to make. Maybe they will see how bad this decision is and change it back to how they had it for so many years.

nascar24 6 years, 2 months ago

I will sign any petition for families regarding the changing of graduation to a week night to be moved back to the weekend. I have one graduating this year and next one not tell 2017 hopefully by then they will have changed it back otherwise I will be petitioning against this change.

Clickker 6 years, 2 months ago

Certianly there are SOME extended family members that wont be able to go, but I think that is a little blown out of proportion. For the most part, it is immediate family members that come anyways. Is there some rule that Grandparents cant visit thier families during the week? One of ours is retired, so thats not a problem, the other has so much vacation stored up that its not an issue. Besides, they will be here for the weekend...Friday thru Wed next year it appears.

ECM 6 years, 2 months ago

Clickker I hope others have family like yours that are retired or have stored up vacation. Unfortunately for our family that is not the case and the only immediate family members that will be able to attend are parents.
Some family work second shift and older family members do not drive at night and can't afford a hotel. No situation is perfect but this decision was made without any feedback from parents or students. I contacted Mr West and got a response that confirmed my belief that he could care less. Accept it or don't come.

hail2oldku 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm with ECM on this one Clickker.

I'm a transplant to Lawrence, came up here for school and never left. All of my family is from out of town. While my mother has long retired, she lives with a sister of mine that would have to take vacation in order to bring her to Lawrence. She has kids of her own that she would have to take out of school. Two other aunts and an uncle are educators elsewhere and would be wrapping up their school years. There are lots of reasons why it would be difficult for them to attend a midweek ceremony.

I've got news for Ed, those students that are disconnected waiting for a week after they've completed classes. They were disconnected LONG before that. The district's graduation committee did a very poor job when considering this change.

Beth Ennis 6 years, 2 months ago

I graduated in the middle of the week way back when. Remember, a graduation party can be held anytime, it doesn't have to be that same night. It could be the weekend before or after. I also have to say, that it is hard for anyone to sit through a graduation, but especially for out of town relatives who don't know anyone but their graduate. Mom and dad can take video of the grad getting their diploma to show to all the relatives and then you can have your party whatever weekend you want. Try to stay positive. I think the party will be more enjoyable as you don't have to take off to go to the ceremony and then come back.

PennyBrite 6 years, 2 months ago

One thing the article didn't make clear is that KU has their dates for graduation already scheduled thru 2016 and also the high school can't have graduation the same weekend as KU because the hotel rooms in town are already booked for KU graduation weekends for years to come. So it has to be a different weekend.

MISTERTibbs 6 years, 2 months ago

"In the past, the two high school graduations have been held on the same Sunday afternoon a week or two after Kansas University’s graduation. It often fell on Memorial Day weekend."

Unless KU has set graduation for Memorial Day weekend somewhere from 2013-2016 this would not be a problem.

Sounds more like some administrators looking to keep a little additional time off instead of having to put in a couple of extra hours on a weekend to me. Of course they are just in it for the kids...

kateku 6 years, 2 months ago

"Sounds more like some administrators looking to keep a little additional time off instead of having to put in a couple of extra hours on a weekend to me. Of course they are just in it for the kids..."

Do you personally know an administrator? Most Principal positions are on an eleven month contract (August-June), and are salary so they will work evenings/weekends anyway.

MISTERTibbs 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes. I know several of them.

Yes. I know they are on 11 month contracts and work evenings and weekends anyway. That is the point of the statement. IF they move it from Memorial Day weekend, THEN they don't have to work that weekend and have it to themselves. SINCE they are on contract and being paid anyway WHY not have them work a few hours?

Alfred_W 6 years, 2 months ago

This decision was made following a joint meeting with parents and students from the LHS and FSHS site councils. The difficulty of midweek travel for family members was considered at length. The SENIORS attending the meeting were unanimous in supporting an earlier, midweek graduation as compared with waiting two weeks after classes finish. The PARENTS at the meeting felt like this move was unfortunate but necessary for 2013.

Nobody felt like this was an ideal solution, but simply the most workable of the options.

ECM 6 years, 2 months ago

The seniors will not be effected by this change. Why should they care.

Why is this necessary? What other options were considered?

Would have been nice to have a larger discussion with the parents and students of the Class of 2013 and beyond.

Mr West had time to send a poorly constructed survey on homework why not this?

kateku 6 years, 2 months ago

ECM: "The seniors will not be effected by this change. Why should they care."

Uh... aren't they the ones graduating?

ECM 6 years, 2 months ago

Uh no. "The seniors attending the meeting " Students who are seniors now in 2012 will not be effected by this change.

Alfred_W 6 years, 2 months ago

Point of information: I was in fact referring to seniors-to-be from the class of 2013. The class of 2012 had no input.

PennyBrite 6 years, 2 months ago

Also, it was my understanding that by pushing graduation to memorial day weekend, one more HUGE problem existed. The staff /teachers would be no longer on the payroll by that time and no adults would be under contract to work the graduation weekend.

It seems the story left a lot of important facts out.....

roadrunner 6 years, 2 months ago

Waaaaa! Waaaaa! It's not the end of the world if a family member misses a graduation! They are all kinda the same anyway! Have a big party on Memorial Day weekend when family might actually get to spend more time together. In my opinion, this is nothing worthy of a petition. And yes, both of my kids will be affected by the change!

Clickker 6 years, 2 months ago

I agree. I can understand if High School graduation is the apex of some kids educational life ( and sadly, it is for some), but for most it is a kind of like a really nice assembly that has become a bit of a hassle with two schools. Most kids have friends at both schools, so now they will be able to go to each others graduations. As far as family goes, I like the idea of just having them come in on the weekend and have a party then. For the kids, it gets it over with, and doesnt become some two week party.

kuguardgrl13 6 years, 2 months ago

Maybe it's just where I'm from, but our graduation parties were a bigger deal for family than the actual ceremony. I'm from Minnesota where school gets out in June (school year is September to June), and most schools will hold graduation the Friday or Saturday of the last week of school. Many of the suburban schools in the Twin Cities area (mine included) rent out the large auditorium at the University of Minnesota. It's about the same size as the Lied Center. That way no rain location has to be reserved, and it's nicely air-conditioned. Has USD 497 ever considered using Lied? I believe that's where KU holds December graduation. I agree that there is a disconnect in having graduation 2 weeks after the Seniors are done with class. A weekday is probably not a good plan. I graduated on a Friday night which was perfect for our all-night class party back at the school, and parents didn't need to worry about work the next day. Granted I'm from a suburb where many of the parents work 9-5 Monday-Friday. I also moved away from most of my family while in high school, so the only family that came was my parents. Suffice to say that USD 497 could plan future graduations better than they have. Things to consider: Date closer to last day of classes and locations other than AFH for the rain location or using an indoor location instead of an outdoor one. KU is not going to change because of walking through the Campanile, so USD 497 just has to compromise. There are better options than what they've considered.

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