Minden High School graduation returns to football field after outcry, senior vote

Minden High School’s graduation has been moved back to the football field following a student and parent push to move it from the gymnasium.

Official word comes a day after school and district officials met with graduates early Monday morning to get input from the seniors. Word of the student’s choice spread after the meeting concluded, however, Superintendent Dr. Dan Rawls would not confirm Monday whether the ceremony had officially been moved, leaving parents guessing.

“Moving it is probably the best thing to do,” Rawls said Tuesday morning. “It’s not going to satisfy everyone, I have already got complaints, but it’s the best we can do.”

Rawls said the change in venue came after the graduates voted on locations to hold the ceremony.

“If that’s what they want to do, it’s fine with me.” he said.

Peyton Gray, senior class president, said the vast majority of the graduates wanted to move the ceremony from the gym back to the football field.

“Mrs. Tucker said they (her and Dr. Rawls) had discussed moving it to the visitors side of the football field and that it was a viable option,” he said. “All the kids put it to a ballot and there was only one vote to move it to somewhere other than the football field.”

Rawls said chairs would be added to the field to accommodate the guests.

Originally, school officials went to “Plan B,” which moves graduation to the new gymnasium from the field in case of rain, after district officials condemned the home side stands of the football stadium early last week.

The move sparked outcry from students and parents after they learned graduates would only be allowed to have six guests at the ceremony, due to the gym’s seating capacity.

They then began rallying online and to school officials to have the ceremony moved to an off-site location that could accommodate a larger crowed.

“I’d have to choose between two sisters to attend.” Gray said. “That would be very difficult to me.”

Gray said the first option presented to the seniors Monday morning was to have back-to-back ceremonies and allowing graduates to have six guests at each, however, that plan still presented problems for some.

“That really wasn’t a viable option due to the fact that many seniors have more than 12 family members that want to come to graduation,” he said.

With the guest restrictions, some seniors were reportedly opting to not walk with the class to avoid having to choose which family members would attend their graduation. Late last week, a Facebook page was started where students were buying and selling unused tickets for graduation. Cash offers for unused tickets were around $25.

Gray expressed thanks to Tucker for the hard work she has put into making sure there is a place for every family member.

The last time graduation was moved from the football field was 1991 when rain forced school officials to move it into the auditorium. Graduation is set for 7 p.m. May 13 in the The Pit.

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