Toward a more perfect graduation

Goshen school board already working to ensure Class of 2015 gets a fine farewell

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  • Family and friends packed the grandstand at the Historic Track this year, which basked under sunny skies on graduation day, June 28. (Photo by Ginny Privitar)



The board and administration is still haunted by the disastrous ceremony held in June 2009, when the Historic Track — the traditional outdoor venue for Goshen graduation — was overwhelmed in a deluge.

By Frances Ruth Harris
— It's only been a couple of weeks since graduation, but already the Goshen school board is working to make sure next year's ceremony is perfect.

At their July 8 meeting, board members agreed to put down a $3,500 deposit for space at SUNY Orange in Middletown, in case an indoor venue is needed if the weather is bad. The SUNY Orange space will accommodate the whole Goshen crowd — not only the band, the faculty, and graduates, but as many family members as the grads want to invite. The board is also lining up the high school gym as another alternate space.

The board and administration are still haunted by the disastrous ceremony held in June 2009, when the Historic Track — the traditional venue for Goshen graduation — was overwhelmed in a deluge. Parents and graduates were distraught about what happened next, when everybody was forced to squeeze into the high school auditorium. There was no music, guests were restricted to two per graduate, and the graduates could not witness the ceremony as they awaited their turn in the hallway outside the auditorium.

School board member Jeremy Cassel said he'd talked to community members who suggested better ways to plan the graduation arena. Even when everything else, like the music and the speeches, are well-planned, they told him, nothing works if the location doesn't work.

So the board decided to be proactive and make a 35 percent deposit for graduation at SUNY Orange. The deposit will ensure that, if another venue is needed, there will be a choice.

This year's graduation on June 28 went off very successfully at the Historic Track, which is always the district's favorite location. "There's a plan that's been thought through" in using Goshen facilities this year, said board member Judith Green.

If the weather had been poor this year, the ceremony would have moved to the high school gym. The disadvantage in that case is that students would have been allowed only four of the six guests allowed at the Historic Track. The two remaining tickets would give access only to the simulcast.

Martha Bogart, the school board vice president, noted that SUNY Orange can be oppressively hot in June. High school administrators said the high school gym would also serve the community well in case of an emergency. Board members say they also want to get input from the community.

The superintendent, Dan Connor, said he would go along with whatever plan the board thought best for graduates.

Editor's note: What do you think? Share your graduation ideas by posting a comment below.

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