Plans begin for in-person graduation in Northwest Arkansas
The largest school districts in northwest Arkansas are preparing for in-person graduation ceremonies this year, administrators said.
“I am so happy that our seniors can have an in-person ceremony this year,” said Jay Dostal, principal of Fayetteville High School. “They’ve missed out on a lot of traditional events over the past year so being able to give them a ball and a graduation has been very special. Seeing their faces light up knowing that their senior year will end on a high note has been a real treat. great experience. live. “
Nicholas Millard, 18, of Bella Vista graduated from West High School in Bentonville. He said he was grateful for the efforts to organize in-person ceremonies.
“I can’t imagine how terrible it was for the students last year,” Millard said. “I’m glad they made the attempt and are doing their best to accommodate the students.”
Thea McKinney, 18, of Centerton, said she was thrilled to be a part of her graduation as a senior West High, but believes it’s a double-edged sword during the pandemic.
“It’s cool that I’m graduating in person, but in the back of my mind I’m worried if my family that hasn’t been vaccinated yet is going to get sick from everyone around,” McKinney said.
The ceremonies are scheduled for May 15 at Tiger Stadium for Bentonville High School and Wolverine Stadium for West High School, said Jennifer Morrow, executive director of secondary education. The district has 1,225 graduates, she said.
The district held family events at each school’s soccer field last year. Ceremonies were held at the Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville before the pandemic.
The district decided in February to hold in-person ceremonies when Governor Asa Hutchinson gave communities and organizations more flexibility for events and downgraded state guidelines to guidelines, Morrow said.
“Our school board and community reopening task force have carefully considered options and made decisions to begin a slow return to pre-pandemic programs and events with some precautions still in place,” she said.
Springdale, Fayetteville and Rogers are returning to pre-pandemic traditions by having debuts at Bud Walton Arena, according to administrators. The arena has conditions in place to allow districts to offer in-person ceremonies this year, Dostal said.
“They gave us the exact number of students that we could recognize at any given time, they gave us the tickets and they gave us the guidelines that we have to follow in the arena,” he said. “With this information, we were able to develop a plan to hold several ceremonies and give students the opportunity to bring in family members to celebrate their special day.”
Schools may be able to host ceremonies in person at Bud Walton, but Dostal said some traditional aspects of the ceremonies remain unfeasible at this time.
“We discourage handshakes and hugs during the ceremony,” he said. “It will be difficult because it is a celebration of a milestone for our children.”
Rogers High School and Heritage High School will both have two ceremonies on Friday. The Rogers New Technology High School ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday.
Rogers has 1,094 graduates this year, said Charles Lee, assistant superintendent of general administration. Each school offered drive-through ceremonies for students to receive virtual diplomas and ceremonies that were posted on the school’s websites last year, he said.
Springdale High School will have two ceremonies and Har-Ber High School will have three on Saturday. Students will graduate as they walk through the stage at Bud Walton, but processions and recessions are not allowed for safety reasons, said Shannon Tisher, deputy superintendent of program, training and innovation at Springdale for students in grades 8 to 12.
The Springdale Archer Learning Center will be holding two ceremonies on Friday at Springdale High. The Tyson School of Innovation, which celebrated its first class two years ago at the school, will have two debuts on May 16 at the school’s new performing arts center, said Trent Jones, director of communications. from Springdale.
Springdale will honor 1,515 graduates, according to Tisher. The district live-streamed senior specials for each high school in 2020.
Fayetteville High School has three ceremonies scheduled for Thursday for its 768 graduates, according to administrators. Last year, the district offered a visitation ceremony to its performing arts center, as well as a virtual graduation ceremony for 2020 graduates.
The pandemic has introduced some graduation practices that can endure, Morrow said.
“Before the pandemic, we weren’t doing live broadcasts and other high profile events,” she said. “We are now streaming all of these events live, increasing participation from family and friends around the world who otherwise cannot make it to or attend the event in person.”
Dostal said he hopes schools will be able to fully return to traditional graduation ceremonies in 2022.
“I hope we can get back to a normal graduation ceremony with all the students graduating together and all the glory and circumstances that come with it,” he said.
Friends Maddie Chambers (left) and Bella Santone, both seniors from Bentonville High School, play a game of cornhole with other seniors on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, at √ïs Senior Sendoff at Tiger Stadium in Bentonville. The current pandemic will again affect graduation in schools in Northwest Arkansas. Visit nwaonline.com/210510Daily/ for today’s photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette / Andy Shupe)
Bianca Moore, a senior at Bentonville High School, takes a selfie Wednesday, May 5, 2021, next to her name on a √ï graduate name wall at √î Senior Sendoff School at Tiger Stadium in Bentonville. The current pandemic will again affect graduation in schools in Northwest Arkansas. Visit nwaonline.com/210510Daily/ for today’s photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette / Andy Shupe)
Jacob Nix, a senior from Bentonville High School, plays a game with a friend on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, during Sendoff Senior High School at Tiger Stadium in Bentonville. The current pandemic will again affect graduation in schools in Northwest Arkansas. Visit nwaonline.com/210510Daily/ for today’s photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette / Andy Shupe)
Wednesday May 12
6 p.m.: Rogers New Technology High School – Bud Walton Arena, 1270 Leroy Pond Drive, Fayetteville
Thursday May 13
2:00 p.m .: Fayetteville High School (Last Names QZ) – Bud Walton Arena, 1270 Leroy Pond Drive, Fayetteville
4.30 p.m .: Fayetteville High School (Last names HP) – Bud Walton Arena, 1270 Leroy Pond Drive, Fayetteville
7:00 p.m .: Fayetteville High School (Last Names AG) – Bud Walton Arena, 1270 Leroy Pond Drive, Fayetteville
Friday May 14
12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m .: Rogers High School – Bud Walton Arena, 1270 Leroy Pond Drive, Fayetteville
5:00 p.m .: Thaden School – Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 600 Museum Way, Bentonville
5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m .: Rogers Heritage High School – Bud Walton Arena, 1270 Leroy Pond Drive, Fayetteville
6:00 p.m .: Archer Learning Center (AK last names) – Springdale High School Performing Arts Center, 101 S. Pleasant St., Springdale
7:00 p.m .: Elkins High School – John Bunch Jr. Memorial Field, 349 N. Center St., Elkins
7 p.m.: Life Way Christian School – 351 W. Centerton Blvd., Centerton
7:30 p.m .: Archer Learning Center (last names LZ) – Springdale High School Performing Arts Center, 101 S. Pleasant St., Springdale
Saturday May 15th
8h: Bentonville High School – Tiger Stadium, 1702 SE J St., Bentonville
9h00: Springdale High School (AK surnames) – Bud Walton Arena, 1270 Leroy Pond Drive, Fayetteville
11:30 am: Springdale High School (Surnames LZ) – Bud Walton Arena, 1270 Leroy Pond Drive, Fayetteville
2:00 p.m .: Har-Ber High School (Surnames AF) – Bud Walton Arena, 1270 Leroy Pond Drive, Fayetteville
4.30 p.m .: Har-Ber High School (GN last names) – Bud Walton Arena, 1270 Leroy Pond Drive, Fayetteville
7:00 p.m .: Har-Ber High School (Surnames OZ) – Bud Walton Arena, 1270 Leroy Pond Drive, Fayetteville
7:00 p.m .: Bentonville West High School – Wolverine Stadium, 1351 Gamble Road, Centerton
Sunday May 16
13h00: Don Tyson School of Innovation (AK last names) – Performing Arts Center, 2667 Hylton Road, Springdale
3:00 p.m .: Don Tyson School of Innovation (Last names LZ-) – Performing Arts Center, 2667 Hylton Road, Springdale
3 p.m.: Siloam Springs High School – Panther Stadium, 700 N. Progress Ave., Siloam Springs
7:30 p.m .: Greenland High School – Jonathan Ramey Memorial Stadium, 10 North Main Ave., Greenland
Tuesday May 18
7 p.m.: Shiloh Christian School – Worship Center at Cross Church, 1709 Johnson Road, Springdale
Friday May 21
6:00 p.m .: The New School – The New School, 2514 New School Place, Fayetteville
Saturday May 22
10am: Ozark Catholic Academy – The Jones Center, 922 E. Emma Ave., Springdale
6:00 p.m .: West Fork High School – West Fork High School Football Ground, 359 School Ave., West Fork
Sunday May 23
2:00 p.m .: Northwestern Arkansas Classical Academy – Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 600 Museum Way, Bentonville
Tuesday June 1
8:45 p.m .: Haas Hall Academy – 112 Drive-In, 3552 AR-112, Fayetteville
Friday June 4
7 p.m.: Arkansas Academy of the Arts – Arkansas Academy of the Arts, 506 W. Poplar St., Rogers
Source: NWA Democrat-Gazette