THS schedules graduation ceremony for May 19 at football stadium

ALABASTER – Thompson High School will hold a traditional graduation ceremony on Tuesday, May 19, school leaders announced following Gov. Kay Ivey’s downgrade on restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commencement is scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 19 at Warrior Stadium with social distancing restrictions in place.

“This plan will enable our seniors to collectively graduate together and walk across the stage to accept their diploma cover in the presence of classmates, friends, and family members,” Principal Wesley Hester and Alabaster City Schools Superintendent Wayne Vickers wrote in a Facebook post.

With social distancing guidelines in place, graduates will be seated 6 feet apart on the field, and the stadium can hold 2,500 guests (about half the normal capacity), which equals four tickets for each of the 544 Class of 2020 graduates.

Everyone over the age of 2 must have a ticket, according to the post.

The ceremony will be livestreamed so guests who are unable to attend will be able to enjoy the celebration from home.

A mandatory graduation practice will be held the morning of May 19, and tickets will be distributed to seniors at that time.

“As you know, the COVID-19 situation is continuously evolving,” Hester and Vickers wrote. “In the event the governor’s Safer at Home order is further revised, we will review our plans and make appropriate adjustments. This may include increasing the number of guests allowed to attend or, should restrictions increase, having to revert back to our Performing Arts Center plan with a modified graduation ceremony in early June.”

Caps and gowns, diplomas, signs and honor cords will be distributed on May 15, after originally being scheduled for May 19.

The event will be held in drive-through fashion, with each vehicle following the typical car line procedures directly in front of the rotunda.

Graduates are asked to arrive in separate vehicles, except in the case of siblings or family members in the same household.

Students should arrive based on assigned times: last names A-G from 1-3 p.m., last names H-O from 3-5 p.m. and last names P-Z from 5-7 p.m.

Anyone unable to pick up their items during the scheduled times should contact a Thompson High School administrator.

“While the latest guidance from Governor Ivey is a positive step toward normalcy, we remain mindful of guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama State Department of Education,” Hester and Vickers wrote. “Members of the administration will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments and communicate with seniors and their families should protocol change.”