SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield Public School seniors will finally get what many students dream of: A graduation ceremony.
The class of 2020 will be together one last time in August at JQH Arena.
SPS sent out a survey to seniors and their families asking what should be done about commencement.
More than 2,300 people responded, and 82% of them preferred rescheduling a traditional ceremony, leading the district’s decision to reschedule graduation.
Anusha Chakraborty’s senior year started out great.
“But then corona came,” Chakraborty said. “It’s been pretty rough just knowing that I’ll never go back to Kickapoo and getting to see all of my friends and having the last day.”
Memories were taken away from her, but Chakraborty finally caught a break.
“Some of the best news I’ve gotten in a while, my sister actually graduated six years ago and so I got to see her walk across and I’ve been looking forward to myself walking across the stage ever since,” Chakrabroty said.
And in early August, she will.
“Honestly it means everything,” Chakraborty said. “I’m so thankful that SPS was able to make that happen, and that we will get to do it. I’m just really thankful that they were able to reschedule some of these big senior moments.”
Many feel the same way as Chakraborty, but some don’t.
On SPS’s Facebook page, one person commented: “I feel like the graduation date is too late.”
“It was our responsibility to choose a time that was far enough into the summer that would allow us to have full confidence that we were doing something that was appropriate and with the full blessing of public health officials,” said Stephen Hall, chief communications officer with SPS.
Another comment says, “They have had enough time to put together a virtual graduation, everyone included and on time.”
In an arena that seats 11,000 people, Hall says health precautions will be kept in mind.
“Just as is the case with any public event that we would host,” Hall said. “We’ll be working closely with public health officials to make sure that we are following their guidance.”
During these uncertain times, SPS is pleased to give the class of 2020 some clarity.
“We know they’ve been working toward this day for so long, and we want to celebrate with them for all the hard work and the achievements that they have been able to achieve together,” Hall said.
The last day for Springfield seniors is May 8.
Students are invited to pick up their cap and gown and other graduation items in a carline.
Graduation is scheduled for Aug. 6 and 7. Times for the ceremonies will be announced soon.