The Ottumwa Courier


May 22, 2014

Graduation Sunday

OTTUMWA — This Sunday, most seniors at Ottumwa High School will start the next chapter in their lives.

"It can be an exciting time, but a scary time as well," said Principal Mark Hanson, who will be speaking Sunday.

Whether they're going into their first full-time job or moving to a dorm at a state university, students will be leaving their comfort zone.

"Some kids have told me they don't want to leave high school," Hanson said.

Students will leave their comfort zone, he said. It's time for them to try something new. As for Principal Hanson, he's known for being willing to try something new.

"We did do the Senior Awards later in the year," Hanson said. "We wanted to give the donors more time to make their selections."

The nominations and selections are usually due so early donors aren't working with complete information.

"They have more time as far as seeing grades and other student achievements. It worked out well. We may do this again next year."

Of course, it makes for a busy week: Senior Honors ceremony, Baccalaureate, Pops Concert ... and then graduation.

Another change in recent years came about when residents got a firsthand look at a new idea.

With a potential for bad weather, district staff decided while they would keep with tradition and host the ceremony at the football stadium, they'd have a backup ready in case of rain.

It poured. Parents went to Bridge View Center — and loved it. The district has had the ceremony indoors ever since.

Not every new graduation idea is accepted, of course. Earlier in the year, students voted 200 to 150 to move graduation from Sunday to Friday. Hanson appeared before the school board with some of the rationale behind the idea.

The school board considered the pros and cons of the switch, but in the end, voted to keep graduation on Sundays.

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