Most districts in Orleans will hold graduation outdoors

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 June 2021 at 4:31 pm

Lyndonville announces plans today to move ceremony inside at auditorium on June 24

Photo by Tom Rivers: Kendall’s Class of 2020 on June 26 last year held their graduation outside at the Kendall firemen’s grounds. The state set a maximum size at 150 people for graduation ceremonies for 2020, unless people were in cars. Kendall decided to have an outdoor ceremony and allow families to drive-in and park. The 51 graduates had seats on chairs that were spaced six feet apart to meet the state’s social distancing guidelines. The district next week will have graduation at the soccer stadium.

Four of the five school districts in Orleans County are planning to have graduation outside.

In the pre-Covid era, Holley was the only district in the county that typically would have graduation outdoors. The district for many years had graduation at the soccer stadium before shifting to Hawk Stadium, the football and track facility that is a close walk from the middle-high school.

Other districts in the county – Albion, Kendall and Medina – will be having their ceremonies outdoors. Lyndonville was planning an outdoor ceremony but today announced it would have commencement inside at the school auditorium like it did in pre-Covid years.

LYNDONVILLE – The district moved the service inside after Gov. Andrew Cuomo eased some restrictions on Tuesday.

“We are thrilled to have a return of our time-honored graduation ceremony to celebrate the Class of 2021!” the district superintendent, Jason Smith, posted today on the school website and social media.

Lyndonville will be making a big change for this graduation. It will be held on a Thursday, instead of the fourth Friday in June. Lyndonville’s ceremony will be 7 p.m. on June 24.

Albion, Kendall and Medina are all planning 7 p.m. ceremonies on Friday, June 25. The graduation celebrations will be outdoors and the services could be pushed back a day if there is inclement weather.

ALBION – The district usually has graduation in the high school gymnasium. This year it will be at the football field.

Last year, when schools were limited to no more than 150 people at commencement, Albion opted to record each student receiving his or her diploma individually and then compiled a video.

This year the students will all be together for graduation. The crowd will sit on the football field, between the 20-yard lines, with the grads in the bleachers.

If it’s raining on June 25, Albion will move the ceremony to 2 p.m. on June 26. If it’s raining then, June 27 at 2 p.m. is the next option.

The graduates will walk from the community entrance at the back high school parking lot, up the driveway and enter the football stadium from the east gate facing the elementary school. Faculty will line up and create a tunnel for students to pass through. After the ceremony, the graduates can gather on the grassy area between the football stadium and high school parking lot. That differs from the past when the graduates and their families would congregate in front of the high school.

KENDALL – The district normally has graduation in the school auditorium. Last year it had a drive-in ceremony on the Kendall fire department grounds with most families watching from their vehicles.

This year the ceremony will be at the recently upgraded soccer field.

MEDINA – Commencement is usually in the auditorium but this year will be at Vets Park with the entire class together. Last year’s graduation was split into three services at Vets Park to try to stay under the 150-person cap. That included three groups of about 37 grads and they were each allowed three tickets for family.

Next Friday, June 25, the entire class will graduate at the same time. (In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to noon on Saturday, June 26.)

HOLLEY – The district last year had graduation in the high school parking lot. That way the school could stay under the 150-person cap because each vehicle counted as one person as long as the people in the vehicle stayed together.

The district won’t have to worry about that this year. Graduation is back at Hawk Stadium and each grad will be given 7 tickets for friends and family to attend the ceremony at 10 a.m. on June 26. (If inclement weather forces Holley to be in the auditorium, only 4 red tickets can be used per graduate.)

“This has been one crazy year, but we made it and we are finishing the year for the Class of 2021 as traditionally as possible,” the district posted on its website.