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Graduation site not a done deal

April 27, 2005|BY DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

With graduation five weeks away, Chambersburg Area Senior High School Principal Barry Purvis is looking for direction from both the school board and students on where to hold the event.

"We can't wait until May 11 when the (school) board next meets," Purvis said while watching sprinters compete Tuesday during a home track meet. The stands behind him were closed, which is the dilemma.

Closed because a floorboard broke last month, the stands will not be reopened until they are replaced or repaired, which is affecting plans for the graduation of more than 500 seniors on July 8.

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On Thursday, several dozen seniors staged a walkout from their classes to protest a proposal to hold the graduation ceremony inside the school's gymnasium rather than on the field.

Administration officials met Tuesday with a delegation of 18 students from the student council and homerooms to discuss other graduation options, "but we did not meet because of the walkout," Purvis said.

The meeting was not held earlier because Superintendent Edwin Sponseller was not available last week, Purvis said.

"It's pretty much split 9-9 as far as to whether to have it here or go to Shippensburg (Pa.) University," Purvis said of the students. He wants some direction from the board, perhaps from tonight's Building and Grounds Committee meeting, before the issue is put before the seniors for a vote.

"We're going to work out the details and the students are going to vote on it next week," Purvis said.

Senior Dant Scott, who was at the meeting, said he was "leaning toward Ship." Scott said the options were for the graduation to be held at Trojan Stadium with the students and families seated on the field, or at the university.

Each graduate would get five tickets for family or friends, but if it rains, the graduation will have to be moved into the gymnasium and the number of tickets per student cut to three, he said.

At the university, each graduate would have the same number of tickets whether the ceremony is held outside or forced into Heiges Field House by foul weather.

"They don't even know if they can have it outside at Shipp yet," Scott said of one of the details that remains unresolved.

"If we've got to have it at Shippensburg to get our tickets back, that's where I want it," said senior David Hemphill II, who was talking with Scott. "I want my family to physically be with me."

Bob Carbaugh, who has a son graduating next month, said he would probably prefer Shippensburg at this point.

"That way, everybody is together," he said.

If the students vote to have graduation at the high school, the decision to hold it inside or outside will be dictated by Mother Nature. Purvis said several graduations have had to be held in the gym over the years because of the weather, including his own in 1973 when the gym had no air-conditioning.

While Heiges Field House is not air-conditioned, it is larger than the high school's gymnasium, which was air-conditioned last year as part of a renovation project.

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