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Memorial High details graduation plan for Class of 2021

For the first time since Memorial High School’s inception in the 2002-03 school year, the graduation commencement ceremony will be at the high school stadium.

The reason for the change is because the Montagne Center at Lamar University isn’t allowing indoor graduations at this time due to COVID restrictions, Port Arthur Independent School District Superintendent Mark Portiere said.

The Memorial Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony is set for 6 p.m. May 28 at Memorial Stadium.

Principal Dr. Glenn Mitchell said each graduate will be issued a number of tickets to enter the stadium and only ticket holders are allowed in.

Graduates will be spaced 3-feet apart on the field per CDC guidelines. They will be seated in alphabetical order.

Masks are encouraged with audience members, Mitchell said, adding graduates will be given masks as part of their graduation regalia.

But some parts of the ceremony will differ from the traditional ceremony due to COVID. The welcome as well as the National Anthem and other musical pieces will be prerecorded.

The stadium’s Jumbotron will be used during the ceremony, and the event will be live streamed on the district’s website.

In case of inclement weather, the event will be brought indoors to the high school’s large gym, where students would be seated on the gym floor in chairs.

The class of 2020 had a very different experience due to coronavirus precautions. Instead of a packed building, there was a drive-thru graduation with photos of the graduates lining the sidewalk at the high school.