Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

With storm on the way, Lakewood High moves graduation indoors

Lakewood High, one of several Pinellas County schools facing potential washouts of their outdoor graduation ceremonies because of Tropical Storm Andrea, was the first to move its ceremony indoors.

Eying an increasingly dire weather forecast, principal Bob Vicari rescheduled the graduation from this evening on the football field to Friday morning in the school's auditorium.

"I don't want to take any chances with anyone getting injured on a soggy field," Vicari said Wednesday.

By late Wednesday, no other Pinellas school had announced plans to move indoors.

Because Lakewood's auditorium is too small to hold all 320 graduates and their guests, the school will hold two ceremonies. Female students will graduate at an 8 a.m. ceremony that Vicari expects to last an hour and a half, leaving 30 minutes for parents to clear out before the male students' 10 a.m. ceremony begins.

Planning an outdoor graduation ceremony in Florida is always risky, as the end of the school year coincides with the onset of hurricane season.

But students at Lakewood and other area high schools have continued to lobby for outdoor ceremonies, citing tradition. St. Petersburg High still planned to celebrate its 88th consecutive graduation ceremony on its football field today, when the chance of rain is 80 percent.

Some Lakewood parents were frustrated by the decision to reschedule, particularly by the choice of Friday morning. Larre Davis said her son's grandmother, aunts and other relatives now will be unable to attend the ceremony because they have to work.

"By the grace of God I took off work Thursday and Friday, but my son has family members who were there when he was born who will not be able to see him graduate," Davis said.

In Hernando County, Springstead High School's outdoor graduation was rescheduled from Wednesday to Friday as administrators grew wary of weather forecasts. The decision was made Monday.

Kelly Muir, a Springstead parent, wrote in an email to the school's principal that she was frustrated Springstead did not keep the date and time and simply move the event indoors.

"There are students who had graduation parties scheduled for Friday evening, with nonrefundable deposits, that will now not happen," Muir said. "There are students that had already planned vacations and will now not be able to walk at one of the most important ceremonies of their lives, their high school graduation."

Staff writer Danny Valentine contributed to this report. Contact Lisa Gartner at

With storm on the way, Lakewood High moves graduation indoors 06/05/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 11:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Drinking alcohol on St. Pete Beach beaches now allowed — for hotel guests only

    Local Government

    ST. PETE BEACH — Guests at gulf-front hotels here can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas.

    Guests relax on the beach near the Don Cesar at St. Pete Beach. Guests at gulf-front hotels in St. Pete Beach can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas after the change was passed unanimously by the City Commission Tuesday night. Residents and other beachgoers who are not registered guests of the hotels continue to be barred from imbibing anywhere on the city's beaches.
  2. Man found floating in 'Cotee River in New Port Richey

    Public Safety

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A body was found floating in the Pithlachascotee River on Tuesday morning, police said.

  3. More than 13,000 fact-checks later, PolitiFact celebrates 10-year mark


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bill Adair still remembers the moment when he realized his idea to fact-check politicians could turn into something big.

    (from left to right) Aaron Sharockman, Politifact executive director introduces a panel featuring Angie Holan, Politifact editor; PolitiFact founder Bill Adair and Tampa Bay Times Editor and Vice President Neil Brown at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event celebrated 10 years of PolitiFact and its growth since 2007. The panel discussed the history of the organization and how it goes about fact-checking. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times]
  4. Trump, McConnell feud threatens GOP agenda


    The relationship between President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.

    Sen. Mitch McConnell has fumed over Trump’s criticism.
  5. Former Sen. Greg Evers, advocate for law enforcement, dead at 62.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Former State Sen. Greg Evers, the Baker Florida strawberry farmer and veteran politician, was killed in a single car crash hear his home in Okaloosa County. The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the death late Tuesday, but deferred any further information pending an investigation. He was 62.

    Former Florida Senator Greg Evers, R- Milton, was a passionate advocate for law enforcement and corrections officers. He was found dead Tuesday afternoon in a car crash. He was 62. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]