ECHS to graduate early

Published 9:14 am Monday, May 23, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
Hurricane Ivan has caused problems once again.
Escambia County High School has rescheduled graduation from 7 p.m. May 27 to 6 p.m. May 27 due to damage the football stadium sustained during the hurricane.
Stadium lights were damaged by the storm making it hard to hold the graduation so close to nightfall.
"The time was set at 7 p.m. and we wouldn't have time to get through before dark, so I have moved the graduation to 6 p.m.," Superintendent Melvin "Buck" Powell said. "We have told every senior that they need to contact everyone they told. If they show up at 7 p.m. they aren't going to see a lot. If we started at 7 p.m. it wouldn't be done until 8:15 p.m. Once again Hurricane Ivan has done some damage."
Another option would be to hold graduation in the school's auditorium.
"Hurricane Ivan has taken the roof off of everything we have," Powell said. "The auditorium is not the way it needs to be, the carpet is not down and ceiling needs to be painted before we put down new carpet."
The auditorium also has other limitations.
"When we use the auditorium there is a limited number of seats," Powell said "There's somewhere around 900, but the graduates would be given tickets according to how many graduates there are. That's the reason we don't want it inside. We're trying to have it outside, but with the damage to the lighting of the football field we couldn't have it that late."
By holding graduation outside the graduates are not limited in terms of guests.
"We just wanted to accommodate the students at the stadium and we wanted to allow them more guests," acting principal Kyle Ferguson said. "We had originally thought of using the auditorium, but we would have to limit the number of guests. We just want to make sure the kids have a graduation that all the kids and their loved ones could be a part of. It's a big day for them."
The school board has hired a company to do the work on the lights; however the work will not be completed before graduation.
"The reason the build has not been completed is you have to work with the builders' schedules," Powell said. "It was scheduled to happen before graduation, but it just didn't happen."
Powell and Ferguson hope that the schedule change will be the best for the graduates and their families.

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