EDMOND — It should take the better part of the day Saturday at Oklahoma City’s Cox Convention Center for administrators to hand out more than 1,600 diplomas to graduates of Edmond’s three high schools.
Commencement ceremonies get under way at 10 a.m. with North High School and its 564 seniors. That will be followed by 520 seniors from Santa Fe at 2 p.m. The day concludes with the Memorial High School graduation at 6 p.m. Memorial has 518 graduates.
Administrators note this year’s senior class includes 106 valedictorians and 23 salutatorians. Graduates have been offered nearly $27 million in scholarships.
“By all common measures, from exceptionally healthy graduation rates to the number of students graduating with honors, Edmond students continue to make their mark on Oklahoma’s academic landscape,” said Debbie Bendick, executive director of secondary education for the district.
One of the graduates is Jacob Rowe, of Santa Fe. Like most students, he’s excited about getting to cross the stage to get his diploma. It’s also a little bittersweet, ending a rich prep experience. He’s been involved in many activities at Santa Fe.
“We have an amazing orchestra, and I enjoyed being on the academic team,” he said. He’ll be going to Oklahoma State University where he will major in music and minor in science, with an emphasis on pre-med courses.
He won’t personally know every one of his fellow graduates, but he knows that’s also been part of the Santa Fe experience.
“We have a very diverse population here at Santa Fe,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed my time here.”
District Director of Public Information Susan Parks-Schlepp said each school’s graduation will last about two hours. She said tickets are not required to attend and the graduates may bring as many guests as they would like.
One potential challenge may be parking at the downtown Oklahoma City Cox Convention venue.
“Participants and guests are encouraged to allow extra time to get to the festivities,” she said.
The district is also advertising two web sites for those unable to attend. They may log onto www.chesapeakearena.com/gradstream/ or www.coxconventioncenter.com/gradstream/.
Edmond also will have an alternate graduation at 7 p.m. May 20 at Santa Fe High School. The ceremony is for students from all three high schools who cannot attend the May 17 ceremony because of their participation in state sports events scheduled on that day.
Other graduation-related activities include:
•Santa Fe: On Thursday, seniors will have an awards ceremony complete with college representatives who hand out scholarships. Friday is Senior Day and the seniors will rehearse for graduation in the gym and have lunch together. There also will be a robing ceremony. The awards ceremony is open to the public.
•North: On Friday, the students will board school buses and be taken to an establishment for brunch. A graduation rehearsal will follow.
•Memorial: On Friday, seniors will have a cookout, practice for the graduation ceremony, attend the senior awards ceremony and have a yearbook signing. This takes place at school.