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Local graduations to be held at football stadiums

High school graduations in southern Denton County this spring won’t be in their usual locations, but they’ll feel much more normal compared to last year’s distanced graduations at Texas Motor Speedway.

The University of North Texas Coliseum in Denton usually hosts local graduation ceremonies, but it is still unavailable this spring due to COVID-19 restrictions, so most local school districts are choosing to hold their ceremonies at some of their football stadiums, where there is open air and room for physical distancing, which is recommended for slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Argyle ISD announced Thursday that Argyle High School’s graduation ceremony will be held this year at Argyle’s Eagle Stadium at 8 p.m. on May 18. Eagle Stadium was a popular choice for senior families when surveyed regarding potential graduation sites, and AISD administrators decided the best choice was to bring the event to AHS.

“We are so excited to host our graduation ceremony in Eagle Stadium for the first time,” AHS Principal John King said. “As freshmen, Eagle Stadium is one of our students’ very first high school experiences. It is only fitting that a graduation ceremony at Eagle Stadium is their last experience as an Argyle Eagle.”

The stadium’s capacity is 2,600 and no seating restrictions will be in place, according to the district. Seating will be available on the home and visitor sides. More information will be available soon regarding tickets for senior families and other event details.

“I am so excited for the Class of 2021,” said Argyle ISD Superintendent Dr. Telena Wright. “With so many challenges over the past two years for these seniors, the opportunity to celebrate this special achievement at Eagle Stadium will be so memorable.”

C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, photo courtesy of Denton ISD

Denton ISD recently announced that C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton will serve as the host venue for all Denton ISD high school graduations, as well as for Aubrey and Ponder ISDs. The stadium seating capacity of 12,000 provides ample space to meet state and local social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, the district said in a news release, and it “offers the closest semblance to the traditional commencement ceremonies.”

“Hosting this ceremony will mean so much to our students who have not experienced normal milestone events during their final years of high school,” said Dr. Jamie Wilson, Denton ISD superintendent. “Having our high school seniors celebrate a traditional graduation ceremony with their closest family and friends right in our own backyard will be a memory that lasts a lifetime.”

Face coverings and socially distanced seating between groups will be required, according to Denton ISD. Guyer’s graduation ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m. on May 28. Graduating students and their families will receive additional logistical information about the ceremony, such as arrival times and parking, through school communication in the coming weeks.

Northwest ISD also recently announced that it would hold its graduation ceremonies for Northwest, Byron Nelson and Eaton High Schools on June 1 at the NISD Stadium. James M. Steele Accelerated High School will host its graduation on May 28 at 7 p.m. at the Northwest High School Performing Arts Center.

Hosting graduation at the NISD Stadium allows the district to use an in-district venue with ample space to meet social distancing expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the district said in a news release. This year’s ceremony will largely mirror traditional proceedings, though face coverings and socially-distanced seating will be required. At 50% capacity for COVID safety protocols, the NISD Stadium can seat up to 4,500 guests, which should provide ample space for graduates’ families and friends. NISD officials are currently planning to allow each graduating senior to have up to eight tickets for guests, whom will be asked to socially distance as much as possible and wear face coverings throughout the event.

In addition to graduation, Northwest ISD schools are planning end-of-year senior activities that meet health recommendations. Currently, district and campus leaders are working with students to design a socially-distanced prom experience to celebrate NISD’s seniors.

Lewisville ISD is the only district in southern Denton County that will not host graduations at one of its own facilities. Instead, the district announced last month that its Class of 2021 ceremonies will be held at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. The district said in a news release that this location will be safe and was available on dates that work best for LISD.

Marcus, Hebron and Flower Mound High School’s ceremonies will be held on May 29, while Lewisville and The Colony will be on May 30.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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