On Friday, May 21, Gainesville High School’s seniors will be able to uphold Red Elephant tradition by walking across Green Street into City Park for a traditional graduation ceremony.
Jamie Green, the school’s principal, announced the plans during the Gainesville Board of Education work session Monday evening.
“It’s been a long school year, but we’re finally in a position where we can give our students and their families some clarity on how we can celebrate the end of the year,” Green said.
Last year, Gainesville High staggered smaller graduations at City Park throughout the day on July 24. This year’s ceremony will begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 21, with approximately 450 graduating seniors. Each senior will be given six tickets.
“Initially we sent out a message that we’d be limiting tickets, and the number could be four per family,” Green said. “But, we felt given current levels of community spread, we’re able to increase that to six tickets per family.”
Similar to airline regulations, Green said children under 2 year olds, who can fit in an adult’s arms, can attend without a ticket.
With the graduates and others in attendance, Green said City Park will reach 65-70% capacity.
Seniors will gather before graduation at 5:45 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Gainesville’s Family Life Center.
City Park’s gates will open at 6 p.m. Everyone who enters the property will be required to wear a mask. Green noted that social distancing will be encouraged.
The three honorary diploma recipients — Scott McGarity, Betty Livingston and John Lilly — will also be recognized during the ceremony.
In the case of heavy rainfall, Green said graduation will be moved to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 22. The second option is 10 a.m. Saturday, May 22.
“If the weather doesn’t want to work with us, we have an indoor plan,” Green said. “As long as it’s not torrential downpour, we can expect to have it outside.”