Local district plans outdoor graduation; seniors will walk the stage

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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) The Belton ISD announced plans Monday for a graduation ceremony on June 18 at Tiger Field that will allow Belton High School and Belton New Tech @ Waskow seniors to walk the stage to receive their diplomas with some family members present, but not all at once.

Students will arrive at pre-scheduled times starting with New Tech students in the morning and Belton High School students in the afternoon and evening. (MGN/file)

“We jointly surveyed our 800-plus seniors several weeks ago and heard loud and clear that they wanted to be able to physically walk across a stage for graduation,” Belton High School Principal Ben Smith said.

“Our plan for June 18 will allow them to do that and more.”

Students will arrive at pre-scheduled times starting with New Tech students in the morning and Belton High School students in the afternoon and evening.

“The celebration will kick off with a car parade as students arrive at the parking lot of Tiger Field,” Smith said.

“We want them to decorate their vehicle, honk, wave and get excited as we celebrate their 13 years of hard work.”

Students will then enter the stadium one at a time with as many as five family members to walk the stage and pose for photos.

“We’ll create the traditional graduation ceremony for them here,” said New Tech Jennisty Thomason said.

“Their name will be called, they’ll walk across the stage to receive their diploma and their family will cheer. And we’ll capture it all with professional photography and videography.”

The stands, however, will not be open to the public.

As they leave the stadium concourse, students will receive their official diplomas and may pose for additional photos.

The process, from arrival in the parking lot until they and their families leave should take 15 to 20 minutes per graduate, the district said.

Graduation portraits and a video will be shared with graduates later in the summer, the district said.

Late in the evening, the seniors are invited to return to the stadium for a fireworks show that will include the broadcast of special messages to the graduates, Thomason said.

“Safety has been part of every conversation we’ve had about what graduation would look like,” Smith said.

“We’re following guidance from TEA as well as other state and local entities. Our goal has been to combine these two components, safety and creating a memorable graduation experience. I think this plan accomplishes that.”

“Life is not fair, and seniors got a large dose of unfairness this spring,” Thomason said. “We knew we couldn’t give them back what they’d lost in the school closure, but we could give them our best. We’re proud of the celebration we’ve pulled together and are looking forward to honoring our amazing, resilient senior class on June 18.”

Additional details will be posted on www.bisd.net/extendedlearning .