Lack of graduation venue has some Whitesboro students, parents riled

By Joleen Ferris

(WKTV) - Just eight weeks out, the Whitesboro School District is still shopping for a high school graduation venue. 

The district has had graduation at the Utica Memorial Auditorium for the past decade or so. 

But at contract time this year, when the school district attempted to strike a certain provision that addresses liability, they say Aud management, for the first time, wouldn't allow the provision to be striken.  Superintendent Dave Langone says the school's attorneys told them it was too risky and they could not have graduation at the Aud.

One of the possible alternatives -- the high school gym -- has students concerned for various reasons. They say that in the end of June, it could be too hot inside

"It's going be too hot in there and they have grandparents coming, a lot of elderly people coming from out of town, aunts and uncles and stuff, people that are going to fly in sometimes, you know," said senior and Student Council member Shea LaManque. " They don't want them to be sitting in the heat in the gym crammed together."

Then, there's the problem of space. If the graduation is in the high school gym, students say attendance will be limited, forcing them to pick and chose the people closest to them who can witness this major milestone.

"Aunts and uncles and extra people aren't going to be able to come, because there's not enough room in our school," LaManque said. "And that's even more of a problem, because a lot of people I know have purchased plane tickets and stuff to come see because graduation's such a big deal to everybody."

"One of my friends actually has family coming all the way out from Vegas to watch him graduate, and if we have to limit the number of people we have to send, then that's the real problem. Not to mention the announcements that we had, the destination is at the Utica Aud," says Student Council President Tim Best.

Some students are upset because they just found out about the Aud not being an option at an emergency meeting about a week ago. They say if they'd known sooner, they could have raised money for a more prime venue.

Superintendent Dave Langone says the most viable option right now might be the Wildcat Field House at SUNYIT in Marcy.  It's in the district, would solve the heat and space problems and is available on graduation day, June 28. Langone says district officials are talking with SUNYIT officials.  The superintendent says he hopes to settle on a site in the next eight to 10 days.


What's On