EHS plans 119th commencement
Weather permitting, Ephrata High School’s 119th Annual Commencement exercises will be held on War Memorial Field, next Thursday, June 5 beginning at 7 p.m.
It was decided in recent months, that despite a pending construction project to have the football and baseball fields renovated into an artificial surface, the outdoor graduation would go on as planned &tstr; weather permitting, of course. In the event of inclement conditions, the ceremony would be moved to the Ephrata Middle School gymnasium, where admission will be by ticket only.
Earlier this month, the school district announced there would be changes made to the ticketing procedure, regardless of whether Commencement is indoors or out, explained Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop.
“In previous years, we only issued tickets that would allow students to bring immediate family members into the gym for the indoor ceremony,” Troop said. “We are doing that again this year, but we are also going to be giving tickets to students for the outdoor ceremony.”
“Typically, when we have it indoors, each graduate gets four tickets,” Joane Eby, high school principal, said. “That pretty well takes care of all of the parents that are in the main gym area, but it can be tight if everyone uses all their tickets.”
Eby said with the number of students eligible to graduate (336 as of May 12) &tstr;that (number) times four will pretty much fill the middle school gym, she said.
This year, the district is giving each graduating senior an additional eight tickets that will be used for the outdoor ceremony, or if it is moved indoors, they can be used for the alternative locations at the middle school.
“We have two other locations for overflow, so to speak, in the middle school, the auditorium and the cafeteria,” she said. “So you are looking at a solid 12 tickets per student with the two different types of tickets: Four for the main gym and then another eight additional that could be the overflow.”
Troop stressed that the district is not limiting outdoor participation.
“We are not limiting family members for the outdoor ceremony,” he said. “It really is to help us know who is going to be coming into the outdoor facility and who is going to be entering into one of the overflow areas over at the middle school.”
The set of indoor tickets is one color and the eight additional outdoor tickets are another color.
“In the past, there were no tickets for outside,” Troop said. “We had no real process for that.”
“We want to make sure that we know everyone that’s coming in,” Troop said, “but we are letting it in the hands of the students who they invite to participate in this big day.”
“It’s really (about) trying to emphasize that the graduates are in control as far as it is their family affair, they are distributing the tickets,” Eby said. “I don’t see a whole lot of people showing up that haven’t had contact with a student because students will even give tickets to past graduates.”
“I am hoping it is more their own special invitation they have given out to people so it’s truly their celebration, their family, their friends,” she said. “And it just sort of focuses on that group rather than people there that nobody knows.”
Troop said people without tickets are also welcome, but they will have a special gate to enter through.
“If people come because they just want to see the product of the Ephrata Area school system, or have had graduates in the past, and just want to see that final celebration, we’d like to know who those people are, and how many are coming from the community,” Troop said. “And this is one way because they won’t have tickets from a participant and we will greet them and get to know them.”
Gates will open at 5:45 p.m. for those with tickets and 6 p.m. for those who need to get tickets.
If graduates need additional outdoor tickets, they should contact the high school office.
“We want to do the best we can to make it the graduate’s day and have their opportunity to invite the guests they want to attend,” Richard Hornberger, assistant superintendent, said.
Commencement speeches this year will be by class president Kayla Good, the as-yet-to-be-determined Valedictorian; and speakers, Kole DeHaven and Kierstin Reichard.
Class officers in addition to Good are vice president, DeHaven; treasurer, Joanna Nimon and secretary: Brianna Keener.
The Class Motto is “We cannot discover new oceans unless we have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
This year’s Baccalaureate service will be June 1, at 3 p.m. at Ephrata Church of the Brethren.