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.