Knox County’s high school graduations may still be several days out, but many plans already have been solidified.
All ceremonies will take place on each school’s football field, and each Knox County senior is being allowed to bring up to four guests.
“Every observer will need a ticket,” noted Brad Smith, Farragut High School grade-level administrator for the Class of 2020 and Class of 2024.
This week, FHS seniors were allowed to receive their tickets via curbside pick-up at the high school beginning Wednesday, June 3; then from 3 to 6 p.m., today (Thursday, June 4) and from 8 a.m. to noon, tomorrow (Friday, June 5).
Tickets are in individually-labeled envelopes, along with letters describing details for the ceremony, which will take place beginning at 7 p.m., Friday, June 19,
Students must be able to present a photo ID, and the student’s signature will be required to receive the tickets, Smith said.
“Signs will prompt drivers where to go” and “at no point should anyone exit their vehicle,” he added.
As for graduation night, gates will open at 6 p.m. Lendon Welch Way will be closed to all vehicular traffic, and both seniors and guests will be required to access campus from Campbell Station Road or West End Avenue.
Because of the expected heat, students will be allowed to wear shorts and T-shirts if they like under their robes, and are advised to wear flat-soled shoes, as they will be walking on the football field grass.
They also need to arrive on the FHS football practice field by 6 p.m.
Smith said the students and faculty will be seated 6 feet apart on the field, while guests will be seated in the “home stands.”
“We will also have signs posted encouraging everyone to follow the Knox County Health Department guidelines,” Smith said. Those suggested guidelines currently include at least 6 feet of social distancing and face masks.
Smith said the FHS graduation program easily came together, as its speakers already had been chosen. They will be Logan Stockham, whose topic is “Ships Weather Storms,” and Class of 2020 co-salutatorian Jessey Yang, whose speech is titled “Write Your Own Story.”
The ceremony format — which, before COVID-19, should have taken place Saturday, May 16, in Thomson-Boling Arena — “is really the same,” Smith said.
“We are changing some things, to cut down on time because it will be taking place outside in the heat of June,” he added.
No live orchestra or choir will perform. Instead, students will take their cues in the processional and recessional via pre-recorded music, provided by Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.
Smith said the ceremony has been capped at 30 minutes, after which time the graduates’ names will be read.
“Nothing should change between now and then, unless the state or federal officials change something,” he added.
Smith said the biggest challenge in preparing for the ceremony is that the football field and stadium “are both having to be cleaned much sooner than normal and are also having to undergo constant cleaning.”
“We are really looking forward to the closure for us, and for the students,” he added.
The rain date for FHS’s graduation is June 20.
Rod Crockett, Bearden High School Senior Class principal, said BHS’s graduation will begin at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 13, and will feature the following speakers: Hanna Victoria Patton, Senior Class president; Benjamin Grover Cruze, Senior Committee president; Abigail Ann Ramsey, SGA president; salutatorian Parker Scott Martz; and valedictorian Samaya Shri Baljepally.
Hardin Valley Academy
Pam Degges, registrar at Hardin Valley Academy, said last week that only the date and time — 7 p.m., Monday, June 15 — for its 485 seniors had been confirmed.