Groveport Madison High School's graduation ceremony will take place on familiar turf this spring.
School board members unanimously agreed Oct. 11 to approve moving the ceremony from the Celeste Center at the Ohio State Fairgrounds to the new turf of the Le'Veon Bell Field at Cruiser Stadium. A committee consisting of a senior parent, the district athletics director, a high school senior and the principal favored the move.
"At Groveport Madison, we pride ourselves with tradition," graduate Mitch Westcamp said. "The tradition we used to have was graduating on our football field."
Football coach Bryan Schoonover, also a GMHS graduate, said the senior class deserves to "come home."
"Graduation should be at your home facility and it shouldn't be something that is off site and is off campus in an unfamiliar area," he said.
Senior class president Madelynn Schoonover said she is glad that graduating seniors, who advocated for the new high school building, now under construction, will be able to at least use the new field for graduation.
"What helps to lessen the blow is that we were the first ones to actually enjoy the new turf that has been generously donated to us," she said. "A graduation at the football field brings a feeling of belonging within our students and will create a memory that can freely be called upon. We would be the start of the tradition that hopefully remains."
About 400 students are expected to graduate at the new stadium on May 25, if they complete all of their requirements. Graduation is scheduled for 7 p.m.
If it rains, Deputy Superintendent John Hurd said the ceremony will be moved to May 26, at 10 a.m. If rain continues, graduation will be held at 7 p.m. No tickets are expected to be needed for the ceremony, but passes will be issued ahead of graduation.