Dear Tyrone Area High School Administration,
In our opinion, the recent decision to hold the 2021 graduation ceremony in the parking lot of the high school is completely unacceptable when there is a better alternative available at Gray Veterans Memorial Field.
According to the Centre Daily Times, every school district that has released graduation plans in Centre County is holding graduation at their sports stadiums. Many other school districts in Blair County, including Bellwood and Altoona, are also using their football stadiums for graduation.
Tyrone has one of the nicest stadiums in the area. Why won’t the school allow it to be used for graduation?
Having graduation in the school parking lot is just another reminder of how terrible the year has been and further adds to all we have lost. We feel that the reasons given against the football field are nonsensical and ignore other issues with the high school parking lot location.
As we understand, the reasons given by the school for not having it at the football stadium are as follows. We would like to respond to each of them:
Problem: Parking is limited and scattered among the different streets in the stadium area.
Solution: If parking is sufficient enough for a full stadium football game, then it is sufficient for a socially distanced graduation. To minimize graduates taking parking at the field, allow graduates to park in the school parking lot and bus them to the field using the same buses for the parade after the ceremony.
Problem: Bathroom facilities are only located on the visitor’s side of the field.
Solution: If the bathroom facilities are sufficient enough for a socially distanced football game, then they are sufficient enough for a socially distanced graduation, especially since we have a small class and won’t have longer than a two-hour ceremony. If this is such a big concern, one can rent port-a-potties.
Problem: The sun will be shining directly in the people’s faces seated on the visitor’s side bleachers.
Solution: When addressing the issue of the sun being in people’s eyes, the solution of changing the location to the parking lot will only lead to students being the ones blinded. No matter the location, the sun will always be an issue, yet in the parking lot, it will make the experience unenjoyable for the students themselves.
Problem: Graduates will be seated in two groups of chairs, one facing the home stands, and one facing the visitors stand, and will be presented their diplomas on the stage in the center. In order for the graduates to be facing their own families and guests, they will have their backs to the other guests.
Solution: The problem of the students being unable to face their parents or having their back to other guests is an issue that was created. Many other graduations have the students located with their backs towards parents while seated. The most important time for the parents to see their students is as their child crosses the stage and receives their diploma. Many students are more concerned with receiving their diplomas than being able to see/watch their families. This even creates a worse situation:
Problem: The width of the football field is 53 yards and after the sideline is added in the closest guests will approximately be 50 yards.
Solution: The width of the football stadium being a problem seems to be a stretch and nothing short of an excuse.
Problem: A sound system will be rented as the sound system at the field is not adequate for this ceremony.
Solution: If a sound system has to be rented for a parking lot graduation, then it can be rented for a football stadium graduation.
Though not listed, money may be a hidden factor in this entire situation. This is something that can be easily solved. We can have fundraisers, participate in local events for money, ask for donations from businesses and families. Something that we have been taught as students is that the town of Tyrone is a loving community, and its members will do all they can to help us in issues that occur.
We are asking the Tyrone Administration to listen to our list of grievances and have an open-door conversation with not only the students but the community as well. This year has been hard on all of us and with cooperation we can overcome this list of simple issues and restore some normalcy to what has been a trying year.
Help make us Tyrone Proud.
Click HERE to sign our online petition to hold the 2021 graduation at Gray Field.