Shelton seniors have won their graduation back.
In March, Shelton High School staff announced that the Class of 2018’s graduation would take place in Ansonia as a result of SHS’s Finn Stadium being scheduled to undergo renovations at around the same time as the annual ceremony.
That is no longer the case and the Class of 2018 is scheduled to have its ceremony at Finn Stadium.
The renovations were scheduled start in May and would not have been completed in time for graduation in June.
Some seniors initially felt that the football field was being prioritized as more important than their high school graduation.
“I feel that it is a tradition to graduate at Finn Stadium and we’re the only class not being able to graduate at Shelton High. We only get one high school graduation,” said SHS senior Mary McNeil.
Other seniors said they might not have even shown up to graduation, and would have had their diplomas mailed to them.
However, other students were not fazed by the location change, and were just ready to graduate.
Hours after hearing the news of the proposed location change for graduation, a petition was formed to get the ceremony back at Shelton High. Within a few days, the petition gathered hundreds of signatures from students with the support of their families and faculty.
The senior class committee scheduled meetings with the Board of Education and Mayor Mark Lauretti to explore alternatives.
They discussed having graduation at other schools or in Shelton.
The senior class brought up the idea of having graduation at the Slab or the lower fields at Shelton High. However, security and parking proved to be issues, and the lack of bleachers to accommodate friends and families.
According to senior class president Jessica Ries, the Slab would not accommodate “a fraction of the number of guests that could be seated at Nolan Field.”
“Ansonia has been extremely kind to let Shelton High have graduation at Nolan Field without any fees. It’s good knowing we have a field,” said Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet.
The senior class finally came to a solution: to work around renovations.
The plan is to stop renovations for three days during the week of graduation; platforms would be put on the field. Clouet explained that he has seen it done at another school that had its turf renovated and it turned out well. Shelton’s Public Improvement Building Committee had reached out to architects to see who could get the job done.
On Wednesday, April 18, Headmaster Dr. Beth Smith had announced that the Class of 2018’s graduation would be held at Finn stadium, should weather cooperate.
“Class of 2018 commencement will be held at Finn Stadium,” Smith said on Twitter.
The date for graduation and the final day of school will be announced at the Board of Education’s April 25 meeting.