Published Date Written by Mike MortensenBELMONT — Belmont High School is breaking with a long-standing tradition of holding its commencement on Friday evening, and instead will hold its graduation exercises this year on Sunday.
The decision to shift the date was made by the Shaker School Board Thursday evening after Superintendent Maria Dreyer informed members that an unanticipated scheduling conflict had arisen with Meadowbrook U. S. Cellular Pavilion in Gilford, the graduation venue.
The ceremony had been scheduled for the evening of Friday, June 7. But Dreyer told the board that school officials had recently been informed that Meadowbrook had scheduled a concert for that evening. Although the high school had reserved the June 7 date with Meadowbrook, Dreyer said the reservation was unconfirmed and that the contract with Meadowbrook gives the performing arts venue the right to cancel that reservation up to 60 days before the event. Dreyer said that to keep the graduation at Meadowbrook would mean rescheduling the ceremonies to either Sunday morning or afternoon or some other week day. Other than that, the school's only other option would be to hold the event at the school itself.
The board voted to schedule the graduation for Sunday, June 9 at 10 a.m. But the board also directed school administrators to check to see that the decision did not conflict with any school district policy limiting Sunday activities.
While the date of graduation had not yet been officially set prior to Thursday's vote, the June 7 date has been posted on the school calendar since the beginning of the school year, and Dreyer said families have already been making plans based on that date. Dreyer said she was concerned that graduates with relatives who might be coming from out of town could find the Sunday ceremonies inconvenient, especially if those visiting guests have to travel a distance and then be back to work on Monday.
But School Board Vice Chairman Heidi Hutchinson said she supported keeping the graduation at Meadowbrook because the covered concert pavilion is large enough to accommodate everyone who wants to attend.
Dreyer said that the Gilford High School's graduation had also been impacted by the Meadowbrook schedule and that Gilford was also planning to move its graduation to Sunday, at 1 p.m.
School District Buildings and Grounds Director Doug Ellis said that Meadowbrook charges the district $2,000 to host the Belmont High graduation.