Administration plans for second consecutive graduation at football stadium

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Bearden’s 2020 graduation was moved to the football stadium due to the pandemic.

The Class of 2021 graduation will be held on the Bearden football field, but this year’s graduation has a distinct advantage, as last year’s graduation can be used to prepare and plan for this year.

Last year, the ceremony at Thompson Boling Arena was switched to the football field due to the pandemic, and it required quick adjustments for Bearden administration and staff. This year, organizers have plenty of time to plan in addition to the advantages of having already gone through the process once before.

That doesn’t mean the process will be easy. While everyone knows what to expect this year, it is far more time-consuming to plan for hosting graduation on campus.

“It takes way more planning [than at Thompson Boling Arena]: setting up the field, security, seating, parking, tickets, KCS/CDC/health department Covid expectations, accommodations for parents and grandparents, interpreters, coordinating & arranging sound for presenters/band/chorus, inviting guests, programs, ushers, and making sure everyone is comfortable,” senior assistant principal Mr. Rod Crockett said.

The immense amount of organization guarantees that the students will receive an equal amount of recognition and support for their success. Despite the adjustments made, the faculty and staff want to provide the students with the acknowledgement that they have rightfully earned.

“[Principal] Mrs. [Debbie] Sayers and I often talk about how well last year’s ceremony went,” Mr Crockett said. “There was just a hiccup at the beginning with graduates’ entrance and seating.

“There are just more details to work out since this venue is different.”

While the plan to mirror last year’s graduation allows for few adjustments to be made, Mr. Crockett and Mrs. Sayers still have extensive preparations to do.

The Class of 2021 will be honored on June 1 at 6 p.m. on the Bearden football field. The ceremony will also be live streamed on knoxgrads.com where it can be accessible for later viewing.

Each graduate can bring up to six guests and tickets will be provided for each of them. Attendees will be required to practice social distancing and wear face coverings.