Graduation moved to indoor location

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Kati Blaylock

NHS staff watch as the 2019 valedictorian addresses their class.

Matt Olson, Reporter

As the school year is nearing a close, plans for this year’s graduation are being finalized. Taking COVID-19 precautions into consideration, the graduation ceremony will be held at Hartman Arena instead of Fischer Field. With more space to socially distance, this was determined to be the best location for the event. However, some graduating seniors have mixed feelings about this decision. 

“I personally really like the location,” senior Kody Diringer said. “I remember watching the indoor football team in Wichita play there before they moved to Intrust, so the location itself has a bit more personal value to me.”

Aside from the location change, this is not the only precautionary measure being taken for graduation. There will also be a guest limit for each graduating student, allowing only four guests per senior to attend the ceremony. 

“I am really saddened that my grandparents won’t be able to see me graduate,” senior Madyson Groves said. “Through every hardship and trial, they have been by my side supporting me, I owe a great deal of my success to them. I wish they could see me graduate, but I know they’ll be proud through Zoom.”

Many students, including Groves, have larger families who will not all be able to attend the graduation ceremony. Ideally, she would be able to invite her whole family to attend graduation.

“I understand why it is necessary, but as a senior with three siblings, I don’t currently have enough tickets,” Groves said. “Having to choose which siblings I bring to graduation is definitely something that I don’t want to have to do.”

Although it may be disappointing to some that graduation is at a new location, Diringer is understanding that the decision had public safety in mind. 

“Because of COVID, it would definitely be safety at the top of my list,” Diringer said. “I think that it is of the utmost importance to keep everybody safe, while at the same time having a graduation for the seniors.”

Not all students agree that hosting graduation at Hartman Arena is the safest decision, however. Senior John Koontz is concerned about the ceremony being held indoors.

[Whether or not a location change is a good idea] kind of depends on the venue, and this obviously isn’t the right one,” Koontz said. “It’s inside so it can spread more easily and it’s at an entirely new venue where the graduation has never been held so I’d think it’d be a lot more confusing to organize. I think it’d be way smarter to have it happen at Fischer Field.”

For some students, graduation is one of the biggest and most important events in their high school career. Because of the pandemic, it will not play out how anyone anticipated it to. Despite this, Groves is able to focus on the brighter side of things, and what is most important to her. 

“I am very excited to graduate, high school overall has been a wonderful experience and I’ve made irreplaceable friendships and memories,” Groves said. “I am thankful for all I’ve learned, but I’m excited to keep growing. College is going to be such a great experience that puts me one step closer to my dream of teaching music. I will miss my friends but I don’t think we’ll lose touch, I’m not willing to lose them.”

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