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South Windsor High School Graduation To Be Held At Springfield's Symphony Hall

Peter Marteka
Contact ReporterNature's Path & Way To Go

South Windsor High School has found a home out of state for its commencement exercises: Springfield’s Symphony Hall.

For the second consecutive year, graduating seniors will head over the border to Springfield for commencement.

Over the past few years, the school has held graduation ceremonies at UConn. Prior to that, the ceremonies were held at the Hartford Convention Center. In 2016, UConn decided it would no longer host high school graduations other than Mansfield’s E.O. Smith.

Principal Daniel Sullivan said Symphony Hall came out of a “desire to be fiscally responsible, the ability to maintain same guest capacity and creating a family-friendly, graduate-friendly schedule.” He called it the “best option.” The hall costs $6,900 while UConn ceremonies were $7,260 and the Convention Center more than $14,000.

Sullivan has reserved June 16, 2018, at 1 p.m. — a Saturday — for the ceremony. If there are no snow days, the last day of school is June 13. If there are five additional emergency closing days, the graduation would be held on June 20 at 6 p.m.

But don’t go etching those dates in stone until at least April.

Photos: 2017 South Windsor High School Graduation »

“I think it’s perfectly fine for Mr. Sullivan to communicate to parents of seniors saying that this is the anticipated graduation date,” Superintendent Kate Carter said. “Whatever we communicate, we need to be clear there is no graduation date set until [the board of education] takes action in April. Families are welcome to know what we are planning, but they really shouldn’t count on it until this board takes action.”

Sullivan noted the Saturday graduation option should reduce the stress created by trying to get to Springfield during a weekday rush hour and finding parking space.

“No matter where we graduate, the ceremony ends,” he said. “People do their photos, people find family and friends and they want to have an opportunity to have dinner with their family before sending kids off to Operation Graduation. The time after graduation can feel more rushed than the time before graduation.”

Sullivan said graduating on the school’s turf field or auditorium is not an option. There would have to be rain dates if an outdoor ceremony on the turf field was postponed. The gymnasium is too small and families would be limited to one ticket with another two tickets for the ceremony, which would be simulcast in the auditorium. Families are given 5-6 tickets for the hall with its 2,600-seat capacity. The Bushnell and Oakdale Theatre were also reviewed as potential locations.

“If you look at the work done by Mr. Sullivan and the administration, it was extremely thorough and very well thought out,” board member Michael Pare said.

“It’s important for everyone to understand just the lengths you have gone to come up with this proposal,” school board Chairman Craig Zimmerman said.

Photos: 2016 South Windsor High School Graduation »

Photos: 2015 South Windsor High School Graduation »

Photos: 2014 South Windsor High School Graduation »

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