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DHS Graduation Ceremony Change

Notice of 2021 Graduation Ceremony Location Change to Stephens County Fairgrounds

Dear Class of 2021 Students and Parents,

Graduation at Halliburton Stadium is a cherished Duncan tradition.  I partially experienced it last year when a dangerous lightning storm interrupted our ceremony, denying half of our graduates a walk across the stage.  It was a heart-breaking end to a heart-breaking year.  Since then, I have personally heard from many who are anxious that this year’s graduation will end similarly.   

Reportedly, 2 out of the last 5 graduations were impacted by weather. Normally, this means relocating to the auditorium, but since no one can predict COVID conditions over the coming weeks, I can currently only guarantee two guests per candidate if weather forces us to move. This graduation will be the first time many relatives have gathered in over a year, but if it rains, graduates will be possibly forced to choose between loved ones or to risk repeating last year’s tragic scenario.  I cannot in good conscience place families in this impossible situation if we have a viable alternative.  

This year’s graduation will therefore be held at the Stephens County Fairgrounds. The arena will provide ample room for all guests and will eliminate rain as a factor. I have personally visited the facility numerous times, consulting on site with fairgrounds staff as well as DHS principals and senior sponsors.  I am confident it can be transformed into an appropriate location for this auspicious event.  We do not have the luxury of using the fairgrounds as a backup location, and the final decision must be made now.

After a year with constant, stressful uncertainty, we need the assurance of a proper graduation with ALL invited friends, family, and classmates.  I know change can be difficult, especially regarding such cherished traditions, but this is our only practical option for this year’s graduation considering the circumstances and odds.  Here are a few key advantages of utilizing the fairgrounds:

 

  • Thunderstorm will not impact ceremony
  • Fully Air-Conditioned
  • ADA accessible seating and restrooms
  • Sufficient social distancing possible (COVID)
  • Assured seating for ALL invited guests          
  • More restroom facilities
  • Ample and convenient parking
  • No rental cost to Senior Class
  • Minimal clean-up, set-up, and expense
  • Supports local County Fair Grounds
  • No last-minute decisions
  • Certainty after an uncertain year

 

I consulted extensively with staff and our Board before making this decision, but as superintendent, I am wholly accountable and responsible for the venue change.  I therefore request that any concerns be directed to me so our principals and sponsors can focus on creating a special night for our students.  As always, you may contact me directly: tom.deighan@duncanps.org