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It’s official: Bellefonte to hold graduation indoors

By CHRIS MORELLI

cmorelli@lockhaven.com

BELLEFONTE — Bellefonte Area High School’s Class of 2019 will have its graduation ceremony indoors.

Following back-to-back school board meetings in which a parent and student lobbied for an outdoor ceremony at Rogers Stadium, the district announced Tuesday night that the ceremony would indeed be inside. Graduation is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, June 7. Tickets will be required for admission.

“It has been made official to the students and was made official when they received their red (graduation) handbooks,” Bellefonte superintendent Michelle Saylor said following Tuesday night’s board meeting. “The decision was very thoughtfully made and it took hours and hours of deliberation with all the parties involved.”

Rogers Stadium – which is still under construction – is an active work zone. That prohibits people from entering the stadium.

“The construction is just going to be ongoing on that point,” Saylor explained. “It’s something that we knew ahead of time.”

Even though the decision has been made, it didn’t stop one senior from speaking out. During the public comment portion of the meeting, Brock Hanscom spoke on behalf of the Class of 2019. Hanscom asked the board to re-consider holding graduation at Rogers Stadium.

“Within the past two weeks, I have taken interest in gathering the opinions of fellow students and their families on the issue of having an indoor graduation,” Hanscom said. “I have come across multiple parents who have a situation that conflicts with the amount of people they are allowed to have at their child’s graduation. And I have come across a handful of fellow students who have battled within their own family as to who attends their graduation.”

According to Hanscom, his family is the perfect example of why graduation should be held outdoors with unlimited seating.

“For me, it’s a process that shouldn’t be in question. It shouldn’t be a matter of choosing family members. We all have family, we all have friends who mean so much to us. It’s a chance to show them what we’ve done after so many years. It’s just a few seconds, but we want to have that moment. We just want to appreciate it,” he said.

Each student will have a set amount of tickets for the ceremony. For those who are not seated inside the gymnasium, graduation will be televised live on C-NET. Televisions will be set up inside the high school for the overflow crowd.

“Absolutely. We have extra rooms, we have overflow,” Saylor said. “In the last seven years, I think we’ve only been outside two times. So we always do that. We always have a live feed and overflow rooms with live feeds. That’s always there.”

Saylor said that graduation inside the gymnasium will be memorable, as always.

“Indoor graduation is going to be beautiful, it’s going to be absolutely amazing,” Saylor said. “If the high school can do anything special working with the students, they will.”

In other business, the board:

∫ Added junior high cross country as an official school sport.

∫ Approved the following coaches’ salaries: Shanon Manning, head varsity football ($7,994.35); Shawn Hale, assistant coach varsity football ($4,621.76); Anthony Confer, assistant coach varsity football ($4,621.76); Brian Stover, head coach junior high football ($4,621.76); Trevor Danko, assistant coach junior high football ($3,910.72); Garret Kutches, assistant coach junior high football ($3,910.72); Ashley Hamilton, assistant coach varsity volleyball ($2,844.16).

The board will meet again at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, at the Bellefonte Area Middle School cafeteria.

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