FLORENCE, Ala. — Florence High School seniors may be graduating virtually on May 22, but it’s a ceremony June 12 that will give them and their parents a better sense of normalcy.
Graduation ceremonies seemed impossible under Governor Kay Ivey’s safer-at-home order but under the amended order, group gatherings of any size can occur as long as those in attendance remain six-feet apart.
Florence City Schools is taking full advantage of that change. “Yesterday and this morning, we were able to announce that we will be able to have face-to-face graduation,” said Florence High School Principal Roderick Sheppard.
Sheppard said he is following the proper safety precautions. To aid in that, the ceremony will take place outdoors at Braly Municipal Stadium. “We measured out to make sure that we’re able to do the six feet of distance, also in the stands for the people who will come,” said Sheppard.
In order to do this, Principal Sheppard said they will utilize both the home and visitor sides of the stadium for guests.
While keeping their distance, the seniors will park and line up on the adjacent baseball field; family and friends won’t be allowed in that area. The seniors will enter the stadium on both sides and walk along the track to take their seats on the field. The stage will be positioned on the 20-yard line.
Each graduating senior will receive five tickets. The gates will open at 6 p.m. with the ceremony beginning at 7 p.m. Each ticket will indicate which side of the stadium on which guests will sit. Seats are marked with an “X” to help observe social distancing. Seniors will not be allowed to enter the stadium seating areas from the field before, during, or after the ceremony.
“It’s a pretty big deal for the parents,” said Sheppard. “They’ve waited all this time to be able to see their child walk across the stage and they deserve the opportunity to be able to see that.”
Seniors should be picking up caps and gowns as soon as possible for the virtual ceremony. Florence City Schools will be releasing more details on receiving regalia at a later time. They feel that announcing the ceremony a month in advance will give families time to plan and prepare.