2023 Graduation: Indoors or Outdoors


Photo from the 2020 graduation, which was held outside.

The location status of the 2023 graduation has been up in the air for quite some time now; however, the decision has been made. Due to weather conditions, the orchestra, audience comfort issues, and organization, the ceremony will be held inside.
Until 2020, Homestead’s graduation has always been held in the field house. Because of COVID-19, the ceremony was moved outside and onto the football field. This provided a significant amount of social distancing to keep everyone safe and still create an experience forthe seniors.
Eric Ebert, Homestead’s principal, said, “There were senior students that came to me asking for an outdoor graduation and I said it’s your graduation so I will try my best to make it happen.”
Leah Fricke, senior, who attended the 2021 graduation (held on the football field) mentioned, “It was really nice because people got to sit on the bleachers and watch if they didn’t have a chair on the field.”
First, is the weather issue. Last year, Ebert planned an outdoor ceremony that had to be moved inside due to rain. Ebert said, “I have to make a decision by Tuesday (week of graduation) because of all the setup that has to take place. I got a lot of feedback from families saying that I can’t change the date and I need to pick one date and stick with it.”
Many families and friends travel to attend Homestead’s graduation, so it is important to have the graduation on one specific date. If graduation has to be moved around, this upsets people coming from far away.
The second reason graduation must be held inside is the orchestra. The orchestra has always been a big part of the ceremony. John Emanuelson, Homestead’s orchestra teacher, said, “it is extremely difficult to amplify a large symphony orchestra so that we can be heard by the audience and graduates.”
Emanuelson also shared that the instruments are very sensitive to unpredictable weather. “Beating sunlight, rain, fog, moisture and abrupt temperature changes all cause problems for the instruments,” he said.
Lastly, an outdoor graduation is ultimately more expensive. Ebert mentioned, “It costs quite a bit of money to rent chairs and a stage. We have to rent and pay for a larger stage if we do an outdoor ceremony.” This would also create a problem if the ceremony had to be moved inside at the last minute.
Emanuelson also stated that “the district owns the cellos, basses and percussion instruments, so damages to this district equipment would be very costly because of an outdoor performance in less-than-ideal weather.”
After finding out graduation’s location status, Fricke said, “That makes me feel disappointed because I was really looking forward to being on the football field at graduation and I know a lot of other people were too.”
Ebert stated that “If it were entirely up to me, I would have it on the football field. I felt that it was a unique and special place for graduation to be held.” However, because of these many reasons, it is not quite worth it to hold the ceremony outside.
Even though some students may be upset with the decision, the seniors still have the power to determine the theme of graduation, choose their speakers, and get to celebrate as the Class of 2023 together.