by Eric Shor
The WHS administration announced recently that the graduation ceremony will return to the tradition of being held at Kehler Stadium. The June 19 event was originally scheduled to take place on the field behind WHS.
According to Assistant Principal Mr. James DeSarno, graduation was typically held at Kehler until turf fields were installed there in 2005. DeSarno said that at the new location, the stage will face the bleachers around mid-field, and the seniors will be facing the stage. He added that Kehler has more seating and a better line of vision for students and families. The decision to relocate the ceremony back to Kehler came after senior Shannon Schaefer proposed the idea.
DeSarno said. “Shannon was the one who had the original idea. She met with Mr. Renwick and had some really good points. Then, we asked her to go out and do a petition to see if there was a general interest among the senior class.”
Schaefer organized the petition to relocate graduation in early March. She advertised the petition, which received 240 signatures, to all of her classes and the WHS Colleges Class of 2014 Facebook group.
“I explained why graduation should be at Kehler Stadium instead of the back fields. There are more seats, [so] if it rains the day before we won’t worry about the mud or having it in the armory. There are loud speakers, more parking, and a better view for the family and friends in the stands [in place] of sitting right behind the graduating class,” Schaefer said.
She added that nearly all the feedback she received was positive. “Almost every day my teachers and friends would ask me how many signatures did I have now, if they could help and to keep going through with it,” said Schaefer.
Not all students agree with the decision. Senior Jackson Dumont said he believes having the ceremony at Kehler will be more uncomfortable. “At Kehler, the turf makes the temperature much hotter which will cause more people to overheat,” he said.
Said DeSarno: “[Moving graduation is] something special for the senior class. If it functions better, we’ll stay there, and if not, we’ll come back. I equate it to a sports team getting new uniforms. It’s something cool, something new, something special that other groups didn’t have the opportunity to experience.”