Students who graduate from Cleburne High School next year will do so in a new venue.
Cleburne ISD officials announced today that the Class of 2020 will graduate at the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts.
The CHS seniors were given the venue change information during a meeting this morning.
Over the past couple of years, the school has hosted the graduation ceremony at a number of places: The Depot, home of the Cleburne Railroaders; the school’s old Jeff D. Cody Arena; and YellowJacket Stadium, also known as “The Rock.”
CISD Community Relations Director Lisa Magers said the district has surveyed parents the last three years concerning graduation, and almost half have expressed an interest in holding the ceremony in an indoor venue where it would not be impacted by inclement weather, like rain or high temperatures.
“The Cleburne Railroaders management has been a gracious host the past two years in allowing the district to conduct graduation ceremonies at The Depot,” Magers said. “However, that site is not a long-term location or solution due to retail development coming soon.”
Over the summer, district officials researched the availability of indoor venues in the area that would be able to accommodate the graduates and their families.
The Mansfield venue had the lowest rental price, has a seating capacity of 5,482 with free parking to accommodate that capacity and was available for CHS graduation, which is at 7 p.m. May 22.
Local residents expressed their opinions about the venue change on the Times-Review Facebook page.
“The people who think this is a bad idea or are asking why obviously did not see the posts from upset parents and grandparents who were unable to sit and watch their child graduate last year,” Shelly SoRelle Anderson said. “This covers all of the bases, allowing more guests and indoor arrangements in case it rains. My daughter graduated from Joshua and yes, we have a large stadium, and we were able to invite all of the family and guests that wished to attend and it was packed. I cannot imagine how upsetting it would be to miss something like this or have to tell a friend/family member.”
Rosa Olivares Huerta said she’s not sure how she feels about the decision.
“It’s obviously great to be able to invite as many people as you want, but at the same time I feel like it so much more sentimental to have graduation in your home town where you go to school,” Huerta said. “I love having it at The Rock.”
Maria Zangan Moore said some high schools drive almost an hour to graduate at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
“This is a good idea if it accommodates everyone and maybe eliminates any weather issues,” Moore said. “When I graduated, we split the graduation in half — two ceremonies — because of so many students and still could only invite four people max.”