Why the Class of 2023 should experience an outdoor graduation

Nathan Kremer, sports editor

The 2019-2020 calendar year will always be remembered as the peak of the devastating COVID-19 virus. Through school closures, online classes, quarantines, canceled school functions, and much more, the Class of 2020 missed out on memories that a large majority of high school students look forward to as their high school careers come to a close.

In an attempt to save some of these school events, a graduation ceremony still took place. These seniors received their diplomas and officially graduated from high school. The one adjustment GHS made to this ceremony was that the ceremony took place outside on the football field to ensure social distancing.

Unsure of how the change of scenery would impact the ceremony, many people were skeptical of the shift to an outside event but those who attended loved it. Due to the praise this graduation received, this year’s graduation ceremony should be taken back outside on the newly-installed turf.

After the conclusion of the 2022 football season, The Motz Group has been hard at work installing new turf onto the football field. It would be a great way to unveil the new field, while also honoring the Class of 2023 who will never get the opportunity to compete on it.

There are many obvious reasons why this decision should be a no-brainer. For anyone who has ever attended a sporting event or band concert in the gymnasium, the heat of the environment is noticeable. During any graduation ceremony, there are always far too many crammed into the gym. The entire senior class is tightly pressed onto the gym floor, while family members must sit shoulder to shoulder in the bleachers. If held on the football field, space to feel comfortable during the ceremony will not be a problem due to the large sets of bleachers that surround the field. Having extra seating means that each senior may be able to invite more individuals to their graduation; however, there cannot be so many spectators that if the graduation were to be moved inside, the capacity would become too much for the gymnasium.

One awesome aspect of the 2020 graduation was the ending. As the night ended and the seniors celebrated on the field, fireworks shot up in the air symbolizing excitement and elation for the milestone that the class of 2020 achieved, even given the circumstances that decimated the last semester of their senior year. The feelings evoked during this moment are not something that can be felt in an indoor ceremony. The breath of fresh air during a beautiful, spring evening while the sun is setting portrays an environment that simply cannot be matched by a graduation ceremony held indoors.

It seems as though any proposition brings about conflict and questions, and this situation is no different. One reason the past two graduations have not been held outside is due to the amount of equipment that must be transported and set up on the football field. An outdoor graduation puts more stress on those responsible for setting up and taking down, however, there are solutions. On the day of graduation, all seniors are required to come to school and rehearse the ceremony. This is a great opportunity to utilize the entire class to help prepare for the graduation and transport any equipment needed. GHS also has a variety of groups and clubs. Most members of these clubs are looking for volunteer hours and would be able to set up and take down the equipment needed for the ceremony.

The biggest conflict if graduation were to be moved outside is the weather. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent a rainy day. Those who are in charge of planning and running graduation must pay close attention to the weather forecast days prior to the ceremony. There are two possible solutions. Suppose the forecast looks as if it will not allow the ceremony to be held outside on the day of graduation. In that case, the ceremony either can be moved to the following day or clubs that have volunteered their time to set up can help move equipment back to the gym.

Many aspects of an outside graduation cannot be matched indoors. With the help of the student body, conducting an outdoor graduation should not be a problem. After discussing this topic with fellow seniors, it is our hope that this year’s graduation will be held outside on the football field.