2020 Graduation – May 12 at Chaifetz Arena

Dear WGSD Family,

At Monday night’s school board meeting, the decision was made to relocate the 2020 WGHS Graduation Ceremony to Chaifetz Arena on May 12, 2020 at 6:30 pm.  The decision was made following a survey of current parents/guardians, staff and students of WGHS, along with a focus group of high school students.  To view the unedited survey responses, please click here.

While we recognize that a number of community members would prefer we continue to host graduation at Moss Field (Roberts Gym in the case of inclement weather), the past few years have demonstrated a need for change out of respect for all of our families and the special event that is high school graduation.

Hosting graduation at Chaifetz Arena, located less than 9 miles from the WGSD, will allow everyone to:

  • see their loved one graduate regardless of the weather
  • have a great view of the ceremony from an accessible seat in a climate-controlled environment
  • benefit from the highest quality sound and video available
  • access ample parking near the graduation venue

Over the past three years, we’ve witnessed a variety of  problems with high school graduation.  In 2018 and 2019, those problems were significant.  In 2018, inclement weather made it necessary to relocate graduation to Roberts Gym.  Due to the limited capacity in Roberts, graduates only received 4 tickets for family members and loved ones to attend the ceremony.  They were also given 3 tickets for others to view a live video of graduation in Knight Auditorium.   Limiting the number of seats to graduation placed a number of students and families in the unenviable position of determining who “made the cut” to attend the ceremony.  Some not making the cut last year included parents of graduates, grandparents and other loved ones who had flown in from across the country.

With the Class of 2019 at Moss Field this year, a host of other problems included lack of seating for all attendees, poor to no visibility for some, inequitable access to seating for those physically unable to navigate stairs, and poor traffic and parking conditions.  These conditions are highlighted in the pictures below.

View from various seats at Moss Field:

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Traffic congestion:

created by dji camera
created by dji camera

Seating for attendees unable to navigate stairs behind graduate seating:

created by dji camera
created by dji camera

Viewing graduation from behind barricades or on grass hill:

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Viewing graduation from outside the stadium:

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No view of the graduation stage: 

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In addition, and as noted by survey respondents, the quality of the restrooms and stadium in general at Moss Field are less than desirable for any event, particularly one of this significance.  Furthermore, and while recognizing that most venues have some seats that are better positioned for a performance or event than others, we don’t feel that one’s inability to arrive early when the gates open or know someone who can, should significantly limit one’s access to fully take in the graduation experience.  This year, we had hundreds of family members and loved ones who either couldn’t see the stage or see it very well from their position on the grass hills north and south of the grandstand, behind the barriers located on the track, behind the stadium fencing or on the far edges of the grandstand.

While respecting the history and tradition of holding graduation at Moss Field or Roberts Gym, we felt this decision needed to be made so that we can provide everyone with the best graduation experience possible.

Take care,

John