A press release sent out last week stated overcrowding and a loss of ceremonial “spark” as two of the committee’s main reasons for modifying the Thursday, May 27, graduation at Patterson Community Stadium.
“Changes were made to make the ceremony more dignified while keeping the focus on the graduates,” the press release says.
Those include requiring admission tickets to enter the field — each graduate will have eight tickets to give away — planting student “junior ushers” at the entrance to point guests in the right direction, making improvements to the sound system, decorating the field, and requiring attendees to enter the ceremony without balloons or sound makers.
Teacher Mary Solorio Brandt, who is a member of the planning committee, said the changes signal that it is time to honor graduates.
“This year’s graduation is totally focused on the graduates from A to Z, and that is as it should be,” Brandt said. “It is their very special evening, and everyone supports that idea.”
Another committee member, PHS senior Nicole D’Onofrio said she wants to keep people focused on what is going on during the ceremony.
“My two favorite parts of the planning (were) the decorations and the audio system because (they are) more appealing to the eye and ear,” D’Onofrio said.
She hopes those changes will keep people focused on what matters most during graduation — the graduates.