South Windsor Graduation – Yay or Nay?


Trevor Hoffman

In a recently published article in the Hartford Courant, it was announced that South Windsor would host graduation for the second consecutive year at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts on either June 16th, or the 20th, all dependent on snowdays.

Once this announcement was made, sure enough, there were a fair share of complaints, but what’s new? Student’s complained ranged from how they didn’t like the venue or they wished we could just do graduation on the turf. But, the biggest issue with students is the fact that we have to travel to another state to graduate.

“I don’t understand why we have to go all the way to Springfield, a 45-50 minute drive, just to graduate,” said a student who asked for confidentiality. “Why don’t we have it at the Bushnell, the XL Center or even UCONN again?”

The logic behind South Windsor’s graduation logistics is very confusing to many students, parents and even faculty. Prior to Symphony Hall in Springfield, the school had used Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts at UCONN in Storrs, but school graduations have since been discontinued at UCONN, except for E.O. Smith High School, which is practically on the UCONN Storrs campus.

So why don’t we find other venue that are more convenient, such as the Bushnell, the Convention Center or the XL Center? It all comes down to money.

In an interview with the Hartford Courant,  South Windsor High School principal Daniel Sullivan said that booking Symphony Hall was out of a “desire to be fiscally responsible, the ability to maintain same guest capacity and creating a family-friendly, graduate-friendly schedule.” The Hartford Courant included that Symphony Hall cost only $6,900 as compared to the Convention Center’s price tag of over $14,000.

Many are left asking, what about our own facilities, like our brand new turf or our gym and auditorium? Why don’t we graduate at the highschool to save some more money?

However, those behind the planning of graduation have committed themselves to keeping this a “dignified” ceremony at a venue where each graduee can get 5-6 tickets for their family. If graduation happened on the turf, each family would be limited to only a few tickets and the weather could potentially ruin the ceremony and create a bigger issue from the start.

So, as someone who will be graduating in 2018, where do I stand? Personally, I have no problem graduating at a venue rather than the school, since it will give me the opportunity to invite more of my family and friends to come see the ceremony. While I wish we could graduate somewhere closer like Hartford or UCONN, I don’t think it is the end of the world that we have to go to Springfield. In the end, all that matters to me is getting my diploma.