LETTER: Graduates owed apology for wet, soggy ceremony

Jun. 20, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

Graduating high school is a milestone. Whether family travels from a mile away or miles across the country, it's a special time for families to share. The 2013 graduates of Lee County High School and their families now have another type of emotion to share about their graduation.  

Lee County graduates, along with family, friends, the band, teachers and marshals, were subjected to heavy downpours during the entire ceremony on June 6. This was not an unexpected storm; rather, it was a well-forecasted one from as many as four days to four hours before the ceremony. The administration set up for an indoor ceremony yet still decided to hold the graduation outdoors. As predicted, the rain started to fall before 8 p.m. as the graduates were being led to their seats.

The older members of our family stayed home to watch the live-streaming video because they didn't want to be exposed to the weather. In the stands, we all tried to make the best of the situation. Comments from people around us were moving as quickly as the water off of umbrellas — [ranging] from hilarity to disappointment. 

The administration made a mockery of this graduation ceremony and one totally discourteous to their students. Yes, if inside, there would only be four tickets per graduate, but still, an indoor ceremony would have been a respectful way to honor the students' achievements. (Southern Lee's administration decided to conduct their ceremony inside, communicated it by posting it on their website the day before and advised there would be extra seating in the cafeteria for those without tickets.) 

As graduates’ names were called, most people immediately left. After the last graduate's name was called and with a moat forming around the field, the speeches began. Those few remaining in the stands, the graduates, marshals, teachers and band members, most likely strained as we did to hear the speeches due to the competing sounds of the hard rain and wind gushes.

Maybe a different decision would have been made if those in charge would have personalized how the results of the decision would affect the graduates and their families. This Class of 2013 is owed an apology (and for some, the cost of ruined attire). There is at least one thing the administration can take from this: the graduates will always remember how wet and soggy they were at their graduation.

Michelle Morie