The Fight for Outside Graduation


Sydney Doolan and Justin Foye, Journalist

As the year winds down, with seniors counting down each day, there is increased excitement and anxiety over graduation day. Graduation is a time at the end of a student’s senior year where they can celebrate the successes they have achieved and the knowledge they have acquired over the past four years with family and friends. Traditionally at Ipswich High School, graduation is held in the lower gym; however, this year the senior class has been pushing for outside graduation.

Although many advisors are in charge of the graduation ceremony, we decided to focus on Mrs. Panciera and the Principal, Mr. Mitchell. Mrs. Panciera oversees the rehearsals for graduation and when asked about what the benefits of having inside graduation are she responded with, “It’s easy to plan because we can anticipate any issues and we’ve done it so many times; we can do it pretty easily.” Also, when questioned what her responsibilities are, she responded by saying, “I’ve been doing this for seven years. There’s a lot of preparation for graduation. It goes on year-round, and it involves many people on staff. I order caps, gowns, officer stoles, gold ropes, and diplomas. This requires tracking down kids for measurements and name preferences, looking up info on which kids have 3.5 GPA or higher, who is in NHS, etc.” These are just some of Mrs. Panciera’s tasks that the senior class greatly appreciates.

Mrs. Panciera reminds us that the faculty is proud of all the students and “Making sure your final celebration here is successful is important to us, so please don’t think I’m complaining about the work. It’s just good to remember that when things run smoothly, it’s usually because so many people have helped to make it look easy.” Although she does not favor inside or outside graduation, Mrs. Panciera encourages us all to remember what we are celebrating in the end. We are celebrating our completion of hard work, some nights going from a sports game, to work, to completing homework at two A.M. It is important to look back at our accomplishments and remember the success we have had throughout our four years and the memories we have made.

Then when asking Mr. Mitchell what some of the reasons were for not having graduation outside, he informed us that it would be challenging to rent equipment for the chorus to be heard outside and the band would struggle with their sheet music flying away. He also added that “We can run graduation rehearsals in exactly the way we will conduct the ceremony on June 2nd, the sound of the music and singing will be clearer and easier (and less expensive) to set up.” Next, when asked about his opinion on his preference on graduation being held inside or outside, he said he would prefer to have it out; however, he respects the tradition at Ipswich to keep it inside. In the future, he hopes to plan further in advance and discuss the benefits of an outside graduation ceremony to the committee. Lastly, he promises that it “will be an excellent closing to 13 years of education for our seniors and will create positive and lasting memories for students, their families, and the community.” He also added that he is sorry that the change for outside graduation will not be this year.

Seniors this year were encouraging outdoor graduation because many have attended older siblings’ and friends’ graduations in the past in the gym and it gets extremely hot on some days. Seniors came up with the outdoor graduation idea hoping to avoid the hot, stuffy gym and to make use out of Ipswich’s new turf field.

Although graduation will not be held outdoors this year, Mrs. Panciera and Mr. Mitchell believe that it will still be an excellent time for all seniors to come together to celebrate their education and accomplishments one last time before students go their separate ways. Despite many seniors wanting graduation to be held outside, graduation will be a day that students will remember for the rest of their lives.