Community members disagree with graduation plans

After DeKalb County School District (DCSD) officials announced district-wide graduation locations and dates, a number of community members voiced their disapproval at the March 14 On the Scene with Dr. Green event.

“My son is graduating and I’m immensely proud of him,” said Heidi Forth, parent and Dunwoody High School teacher. “Imagine my heartbreak. I was stunned to find out the graduation release date and I’m almost in disbelief.”

Graduation ceremonies for the 2018-2019 school year will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center May 28-June 2, a location outside of the county and later than usual dates compared to past graduations.

Graduation ceremonies for the 2017-2018 school year were held at the same location, but with a May 21-26 time span.

The Georgia World Congress Center will host the Citrix Synergy 2019 technology event May 21-23 and the MomoCon─a cosplay fan convention─May 23-26.

Final graduation plans were announced to the public Nov. 2, 2018 with DCSD Superintendent R. Stephen Green citing negotiations and finding a spacious venue as a difficulty for the later graduation dates and the late announcement.

DCSD’s graduation committee researched several metro area venues, including The Georgia International Convention Center, Cobb Energy Center, Infinite Energy Arena, Georgia State University, State Farm Arena, Georgia Tech Arena for possible graduation locations.

Community members who attended the event at Dunwoody High School said they are concerned that the later graduation date will hinder families and teachers’ summer plans. Dunwoody High School’s last day of school is May 23.

Forth suggested that each school host its own graduation, to ease scheduling conflicts. There are 21 high schools in DCSD.

“That would present a significant challenge around equity,” Green said. “We’d have a lot of uneven ceremonies taking places that are very different, some [schools do] not have common places to celebrate [a graduation].”

Green said if it were his choice, graduations would take place in DeKalb County.

Forth then suggested that the money being used to rent the Georgia World Congress Center be divided among the high schools, to help each school have an equal and separate graduation.

According to DCSD, $56,877 was spent to rent Georgia World Congress Center. Also, this will be the district’s third year having a districtwide graduation location. Individual schools selected their own venues previously.

Green responded saying that plans are set for 2019 graduations, however, he would consider ideas for future graduations.

The complete DCSD graduation schedule to be held at the Georgia World Congress Center) for the 2018-2019 school year is as follows:

Tuesday, May 28, 2019:
• Towers High School -10 a.m.
• Columbia High School – 1 p.m.
• Cedar Grove High School – 4 p.m.
• DeKalb School of the Arts – 7 p.m.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019:  
• Lithonia High School – 10 a.m.
• Dunwoody High School – 1 p.m.
• Redan High School – 4 p.m.
• Clarkston High School – 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 30, 2019:
• Lakeside High School – 10 a.m.
• DeKalb Early College Academy – 1 p.m.
• Stephenson High School – 4 p.m.
•  Cross Keys High School – 7 p.m.

Friday, May 31, 2019:
• McNair High School – 10 a.m.
• Arabia Mountain High School -1 p.m.
• Chamblee Charter High School – 4 p.m.
• Tucker High School – 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 1, 2019:
• Druid Hills High School – 10 a.m.
• M.L. King, Jr. High School – 1 p.m.
• Miller Grove High School  – 4 p.m.
• Elizabeth Andrews High School – 7 p.m.

Sunday, June 2, 2019:
• Stone Mountain High School – 10 a.m.
• Southwest DeKalb High School – 1 p.m.
• Tapestry Charter School – 4 p.m.

Friday, May 17, 2019:
• Margaret Harris Comprehensive School
– 10 a.m. ***at the school.

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