Thursday, December 28, 2000

Diploma site may be by vote

Little Miami High graduation a concern

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MORROW — Some parents of Little Miami High School seniors are already worrying about where graduation will be held, but the graduating students will likely decide with a vote.

        School administrators planned to hold graduation in the gymnasium of the new high school, ending 20-plus years of the event at Wilmington College, said High School principal Robert Bixler.

        Under that plan, parents would have to limit the number of guests to nine per student due to limited seating in the gym.

        Graduation had been held at Wilmington because the gymnasium in the old high school was too small, Mr. Bixler said.

        Now, district officials want to make good on a promise to hold the ceremony in the new high school.

        That promise was made during the campaign for the bond issue for the new high school in 1997, he said.

        School officials have been planning the ceremony there since April, when former Superintendent Michael Virelli released the date of the 2001 graduation.

        But some parents say nine guests is not enough.

        “This is not fair to us and not fair to our children,” said parent Debbie Gilkison at a recent school board meeting.

        Ms. Gilkison said she counts 12 people who should receive invitations to her child's graduation.

        Another parent said she hopes to invite 15 people.

        A handful of parents came to the meeting to express concern.

        The new gymnasium seats 1,500, but Mr. Bixler said the room will accommodate about 1,700 people plus the 170 graduates with seats also arranged on the gym floor.

        He said he plans to help parents who need more tickets contact those who have extras.

        He also said graduation will be broadcast in the school auditorium for the overflow crowd.

        “We're going to do everything we can to accommodate grandmothers and grandfathers, sisters and brothers and other family members,” Mr. Bixler said.

        “I'm open to listening to any concerns parents have.”

        Superintendent Ralph Shell suggested allowing the graduating class to decide.

        Mr. Bixler said he'll present them with three options: graduation in the high school gymnasium, an outdoor graduation on the football field with indoor accommodations in case of inclement weather or graduation at Wilmington College.

        A vote is expected within the first two weeks after vacation, he said.


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