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Topeka-area districts confirm graduation ceremonies are on at Stormont Vail Events Center

Washburn Rural High School seniors wear masks at their postponed commencement ceremony May 1,...
Washburn Rural High School seniors wear masks at their postponed commencement ceremony May 1, 2020. The Class of 2021 will have its ceremony May 16 at Stormont Vail Events Center.(WIBW)
Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 7:43 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Washburn Rural, Seaman, and Shawnee Heights high school graduates all will have their traditional commencement ceremonies at Stormont Vail Events Center.

USD 437 and USD 345 board members heard the announcement at their Monday night board meetings, while USD 450′s board president confirmed the news, sharing an email sent to parents late last week.

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed ceremonies several months, and forced schools to split their classes, limit attendance, and make other adjustments. This year, the ceremonies will take place 7 p.m. May 16th at Stormont Vail Events Center.

Washburn Rural, which split its class into two groups to keep the crowd smaller for its August commencement, will hold a single ceremony for the entire class. Principal Ed Raines said students will not be limited on the number of guests. Raines said the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions ultimately allowed the Stormont Vail Event Center to give the official go-ahead to their plans.

Shawnee Heights’ ceremony is 1 p.m. May 16th. Their graduates, as well, will have no restrictions on the number of guests they may invite.

Seaman’s commencement is slated for 4 p.m. May 16th. A district spokesperson said they were finalizing further details.

Topeka Public Schools canceled its in-person commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020, although they did hold virtual events for the three high schools. This year, school calendars show Topeka High, Topeka West, and Highland Park will hold commencement ceremonies May 22nd at Hummer Sports Park.

Their ceremonies traditionally were held at Stormont Vail Events Center.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Topeka High’s graduation date was May 23rd. It is not. It is May 22nd. May 23rd is the rain date for all Topeka Public Schools high school graduations.

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