Sunday, November 19, 2017
Education

Some Pinellas County graduations will call for extra caffeine

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — When Janet Harris told friends at church the time of her twins' graduation ceremony, she emphasized the hour, thinking people could easily show up 12 hours late.

It's at 7:30. In the morning.

"Yikes," Harris said was her first thought when she heard the news.

Of the 19 commencements taking place at traditional and alternative high schools across Pinellas County this week, some schools will have graduates wearing their robes and grabbing their diplomas at an hour when some people are still eating breakfast.

Among the early birds: Boca Ciega High at 7:30 a.m. and Countryside High at 8 a.m.

"We will be the early risers," said Randy Shuman, a basketball coach who is among graduation organizers at Boca Ciega High.

Some parents have inquired about the early morning start. Boca Ciega High principal Michael Vigue said the time is worth it because it allowed his school to get a spot on the schedule at Tropicana Field, where seven other schools will host their graduations this year. He'd rather be there, no matter the hour.

"That is by far the best venue," he said.

Among the perks: air conditioning and unlimited parking.

"And seating," Shuman added. "You have unlimited seating."

Robin Conyers, of St. Petersburg, said about 50 loved ones will watch her 18-year-old son, Denzel Conyers, graduate from Boca Ciega on Friday. But the 47-year-old mom said there are some drawbacks: Some of their closest loved ones won't attend because they can't take time off work, and those who have small children will have a tougher time getting ready so early.

"It's kind of challenging for some people," she said. "Two hours can make a big difference in how smooth your morning goes."

But for Harris, a literacy coach at Boca Ciega and mother of 18-year-old twins Indica and Andreas, the time doesn't matter.

"If they told us it was 5 a.m., we were going to be there," she said. "I really doubt that the time frame bothered most people because we're all just so ecstatic about the graduation itself."

Shuman said the students aren't fazed by the time.

"It's just a regular school day. We're up about that time anyway," he said, adding that they'll have the rest of the day to celebrate.

The majority of the county's public high school graduations take place between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday of this week. At Countryside High, records manager Pat Korcak said the school staff was "relieved" to hear the school's ceremony was scheduled for 8 a.m. at Bright House Field because they'll beat the afternoon sun.

Karen Fisher, mom of Countryside salutatorian Allison Fisher, agreed, adding that Florida's summer thunderstorms could hamper an outdoor evening ceremony. "It's not very conducive."

For $20 per person, Bright House Field is offering viewing rooms and continental breakfast to graduation spectators

Laura C. Morel can be reached at (727) 893-8713 or [email protected]

Comments
10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

Associated PressThe latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 10 African-Americans — the most ever in a single Rhodes class — as well as a transgender man and four students from colleges that had never had received the honor before. The Rhodes Tr...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Class notes

School Calendar• Nov. 27: School resumes after Thanksgiving break• Dec. 22: End of second grading quarter.• Dec. 23-Jan. 7: Winter Break.• Jan. 8: Teacher planning day. No school for students.Arts/Music/TheaterCenter for the Arts at River Ridge Middl...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/18/17
Pasco’s 2018 Outstanding Senior hails from River Ridge High

Pasco’s 2018 Outstanding Senior hails from River Ridge High

River Ridge High School senior Connor Beckman has been named Pasco County’s 2018 Outstanding Senior.Commander of the school’s Air Force JROTC program, Beckman is also an Eagle Scout mentor, National Honor Society president and swim team captain.Beckm...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/18/17
Makerspace lab exposes Eastside students to tech skills and fun

Makerspace lab exposes Eastside students to tech skills and fun

BROOKSVILLE — The lab at Eastside Elementary School looks high tech, featuring new flooring, cabinets and furniture. Assistant Principal Michael Lastra calls it cutting edge."It’s not like your typical classroom," Lastra said. "The school wanted it t...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/18/17
Pasco school district proposes future changes to west-side elementary and middle school zones

Pasco school district proposes future changes to west-side elementary and middle school zones

Plans to erase the attendance boundaries for Ridgewood High School have grabbed all the attention.But the Pasco County school district also has proposed changes to west-side elementary and middle school zones for consideration this fall.They’re just ...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
At St. Petersburg High, alums push to complete private funding for home field improvements

At St. Petersburg High, alums push to complete private funding for home field improvements

ST. PETERSBURG — The athletic facilities at St. Petersburg High are just like Bob Carter remembers from 50 years ago.He recalls it all fondly: The concession stands, ticket booths and bathrooms are still the same. The track is still outdated asphalt,...
Published: 11/15/17
In union push at USF, adjunct professors strive for more respect and a living wage

In union push at USF, adjunct professors strive for more respect and a living wage

TAMPA — Robert Ryan cleaned out his office in May. He knew he was dying.He had kept driving to the University of South Florida even as he lost the use of his left arm. He had kept teaching English, even as tumors ravaged his mouth so that he could ha...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Hillsborough Education Foundation, Yoobi team to surprise students

Hillsborough Education Foundation, Yoobi team to surprise students

The kids at Bing Elementary knew something special was about to happen when a six-foot white dog with a "target" over his right eye walked into the classroom.And they were right.On Tuesday (Nov. 14), volunteers and corporate supporters joined the Hil...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/16/17
New aviation programs at PHSC help propel students toward dreams

New aviation programs at PHSC help propel students toward dreams

DADE CITY — Dustin Snodgrass has a photograph of himself as a child in the pilot’s seat of a kid-size model airplane. Snodgrass, now 28, recently took a big step toward his goal of flying real aircraft with his first solo flight through a new profess...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Hillsborough teachers show up in the hundreds to clamor for promised raises

Hillsborough teachers show up in the hundreds to clamor for promised raises

TAMPA — A weeks-long salary standoff between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers hit an emotional peak Tuesday as hundreds of teachers and students turned out to ask the School Board for their promised raises."War has been declar...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/15/17