GHS graduation venue to change

Published 4:07 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Planned upgrades to Tiger Stadium will force school officials to change the venue for Greenville High School’s graduation and may limit the number of family members and friends that can attend the May 21 ceremony.

Butler County Schools Superintendent Amy Bryan said that the staff at GHS and the senior class is working to determine an alternate location, which could include another football field in the county or the GHS Auditorium.

In the past, including last year, the school’s graduation has been held in the school’s auditorium due to inclement weather.

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“I am sure Principal (Joseph) Dean will work with the senior class to determine if they would like to go to another football field, have two ceremonies to accommodate half the class and their families at a time, or issue the four tickets per student as has been the normal alternate (when weather has impacted graduation).”

Bryan said that the work on the field at Tiger Stadium, which will involve grading of the field to create a crown, installing sprinklers, new sod and new fencing, can’t be delayed.

“The work cannot be delayed as it is on a strict schedule to ensure optimal growing time for the new sod prior to the 2016 football season,” she said.

A number of parents and supporters with ties to GHS have voiced displeasure with the school system’s decision to change the venue for graduation by posting on the school system’s Facebook page.

Brandi Peavy, who has a son graduating from Greenville High School, said her son learned of the change from a friend.

“The school hasn’t told us anything at all,” she said. “My son heard (about the change) from a friend and then me and some family members started messaging the Butler County Schools’ Facebook page about it. That’s when they finally decided to make an announcement on that page.”

Peavy said at least 20 to 25 family members had planned to attend her son’s graduation.

“I’m sure it is the same with a lot more families,” she said.

If the ceremony is moved inside to the auditorium, students would be given a set number of tickets for guests, as has been the practice when the ceremony has been moved due to inclement weather.

Tameka Walker, who has a daughter graduating from Greenville High School, doesn’t feel the situation has been handled well.

“We as parents, as well as the students, should have had a say so before any decision was ever made and finalized,” Walker said.

Lataurs Posey, a Greenville High School graduate whose daughter will graduate in May, said she remembers walking across the field at Tiger Stadium during her graduation. She had hoped her daughter would have the same experience.

“I am very upset about hearing that my daughter will not be able to walk across the Greenville High School football field due to renovations,” said Posey. “I feel that it is wrong and unfair. They have waited 18 years to walk across that field. Last year was a bad experience for me. My son had to walk through the auditorium at Greenville High School. It was packed and very unorganized. My parents had to wait in long lines. Some people had more tickets than other people. The tickets were unfair. (My son’s) other relatives did not even get to see him graduate and they came long distance.”

Antionette Lucy, who has a daughter in the Class of 2016, said moving graduation from the stadium to another venue could limit the number of family members who attend.

“I do not agree with the redoing of the football field at or around the time of graduation,” Lucy said. “I believe this is very poor planning by the Board of Education. They know that there is not another place to hold the graduation that will be big enough to hold the Class of 2016 and its families. And if they have it at the school for them to only give two tickets out is not fair. That would only be a ticket for the parents. What about grandparents, great-grandparents, brothers and sisters? What about the students that have stepparents? This is not fair at all. This class has worked hard. They deserve to have the day and have everyone at the graduation.”

Lucrecia Middleton has started a Facebook page, “Save Graduation c/o 2016,” to try and rally parents.

“I understand things happen and we can’t control the weather, but we don’t even have that option,” said Middleton. “We haven’t even been ‘officially’ informed, and graduation is soon approaching. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and I just wanted to share that special moment with my family. It’s a tradition. I’ve been praying for the last couple of months that it wouldn’t rain, but It never crossed my mind that I would have to worry about renovations to a football field. I don’t disagree with the renovations, it’s just the timing is terrible. There are a lot of upset students and parents. It’s just sad. I hope this can get resolved.”