BHS graduation will be in gym this year

Published 6:28 pm Friday, March 29, 2013

Bainbridge High School’s graduation ceremony will be at the BHS gymnasium this year, rather than at Centennial Field.

School officials said that the plan is to have graduation at BHS from now on, beginning with this year’s ceremony on Thursday, May 23.

The unpredictable weather during that time of the year and challenging logistics prompted the move to the gym, BHS Principal Tommie Howell said.

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“The total unreliability of the weather is of utmost concern,” Howell said. “Last year, we had a zero percent chance of rain, and then came a deluge. With the heavy rain and lightning, we were fortunate that no one was injured.”

Last year, graduation was originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 22, 2012, but a hailstorm and rain forced the ceremony to be postponed until the following Wednesday. Then, on that Wednesday evening, the ceremony began at Centennial Field at its normal 8 p.m. time, but had to be stopped temporarily because of heavy rainfall and lightning. It was eventually moved to the BHS gym and the ceremony resumed at 11 p.m., with the graduates receiving their degrees early that Thursday morning.

Howell consulted with the Bainbridge High School council, which is composed of parents, teachers and community members, before making the decision. He also met with the senior class officers and delegates to explain the reasoning behind the decision to move the ceremony.

Both the Decatur County Board of Education and Dr. Fred Rayfield,  superintendent of the Decatur County Schools, support the location change.

“The decision was made for all the right reasons,” Rayfield said. “We simply want to minimize problems while maximizing the class, quality, and distinction of the ceremony.”

Each graduating senior will receive eight tickets to the event and the gymnasium will be arranged to seat roughly 3,000 attendees. Additionally, an overflow area, accessible without a ticket, will be in the school lunchroom with a live video feed shown on a big screen from the gymnasium.

Howell also indicated that live streaming of the event via the Internet was a possibility. He said the technology staff was diligently working to provide that service for family members who could not attend the event because of distance or other reasons.

The 2013 graduation ceremony will be at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 23.