At last: SHS graduation set for Friday

Staff Writer
Stephenville Empire-Tribune
SISD Superintendent Matt Underwood

Members of the Stephenville High School Class of 2020 probably would like to forget about COVID-19 shutting down the school year, but they will no doubt fondly remember their graduation ceremony the rest of their lives.

The SHS graduation ceremony is finally almost here. It’s scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. this Friday, June 19, on the field at Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium on North Harbin Drive in Stephenville.

The Memorial Stadium gates are set to open at 6:30 p.m. Seating will be allowed on both the home and visiting side of the stadium.

Each graduate was offered as many as 10 tickets for the event. Each person who plans to attend with one of those tickets will have submitted a certificate of medical health prior to the event because of COVID-19 precautions, SISD Superintendent Matt Underwood noted.

Last year’s SHS commencement was held on May 31, inside Tarleton’s Wisdom Gym. This year’s ceremony was delayed from what would have been the normal time frame because of complications caused by the pandemic. The 2019 ceremony was held in Wisdom Gym instead of the football stadium because Memorial Stadium was still undergoing its major remodeling process.

Underwood said he’s thankful that graduation time is finally here for the students, noting “Obviously they have missed a lot of the year’s extracurricular and club activities. At least we are grateful that they will have one last event as a class.”

Under normal circumstances, the capacity for the remodeled Memorial Stadium for future football games and other events will be 12,000. However, SISD officials said that social distancing guidelines will be used Friday in the stands in compliance with all of the COVID-19 safety precautions recommended by the Texas Education Agency and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Families arriving and entering together will be allowed to sit together in the stands, but the spacing between one family group and the next will be at least six feet. Every other row will be left vacant.

SHS Principal Stephanie Traweek said that 253 graduates are scheduled to take part in the commencement ceremonies.

“We are super excited for the senior class,” Traweek said. “We know what hard work they have done over the years, so we want to celebrate that.

“We know it’s not a storybook ending. This (the COVID-19 pandemic) is just a bump in the road. Their journey is continuing, and they will have many opportunities to be successful beyond the walls of Stephenville High School. I hope we have prepared them to handle the obstacles they will have along the way.”

Stephenville High School's Class of 2020 will have its graduation ceremony Friday, on the field at Tarleton's Memorial Stadium. It's set to start at 8 p.m. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. Seating will be available on both the home and visitor sides.