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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Extra Spokane Public Schools graduation tickets are the latest vaccine incentive

In this June 6, 2020 photo, Ferris High School senior Mustafa Amer Al Sabahi pauses to let his family take his photo from their car after receiving his diploma from principal Ken Schutz during the school’s drive-thru graduation ceremony.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

As it turns out, your best shot at seeing your loved one graduate is to have your COVID-19 shots.

When Spokane Public Schools decided to hold high school graduation ceremonies on June 12-13 at the Riverfront Park Pavilion, graduates were initially limited to two guests each.

However, with the blessing of the Spokane Regional Health District, the district has opened a “fully vaccinated” seating area.

Graduates with fully vaccinated guests – defined as two weeks past their last required dose on graduation day – may exchange their two general seating area wristbands for up to four wristbands for the fully vaccinated seating area.

“What’s exciting is, it gives us a chance to expand graduation for families and guests,” said Shawn Jordan, the district’s director of secondary schools.

“My expectation is that we’re definitely going to see an increase in families sitting at graduation,” Jordan said.

That issue was raised soon after the district announced on April 16 its plans to hold graduation at the Pavilion. It’s a spectacular setting, but with limited seating.

Last year, graduates drove to commencement with their families – a hit with families but a bit anticlimactic for seniors who wanted one last hurrah together.

For those who will still be on the outside looking in, the district has arranged to set up TV screens – “very, very large LED screens,” Jordan said – near the Riverfront Park clock tower.

Shadle Park will hold the first commencement the Pavilion, on June 12 at 1:30 p.m., followed by North Central at 4:30 p.m. and On Track Academy at 7:30 p.m.

On June 13, Lewis and Clark will hold ceremonies at noon, followed by Ferris at 3:30 p.m. and Rogers at 7 p.m.

The Community School also will stage commencement at the Pavilion at 7 p.m. on June 14.

Pratt Academy will hold graduation at the school at 1:30 p.m. on June 11. Bryant/TEC will have commencement at 6 p.m. on June 11 at Bryant.

Under DOH guidelines, guests wishing to exchange general seating area wristbands for fully vaccinated seating area wristbands are required to present proof of a second dose of the Pfizer/Moderna vaccine or single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine dated at least two weeks prior to the graduation ceremony – May 29 for June 12 graduations, and May 30 for June 13 graduations.

Due to capacity issues, graduates may not have guests in both seating areas.

Here’s a rundown on how local school districts are handling graduation:

In the Central Valley School District, the two comprehensive high schools will hold ceremonies on the football field.

At 9 a.m. on June 12, University High will allow up to four guests per graduate to sit in the bleachers at the UHS Field. At 11 a.m. that same day, Central Valley High will have the same protocols on its field.

The CVHS field will also host graduation for Mica Peak High School (6:30 p.m. on June 10) and STEM Academy at Spokane Valley Tech (6 p.m. on June 11).

The big day in the Mead School District will be June 18 at its new Union Stadium.

Mead High School will kick off the festivities at 5 p.m., with Mt. Spokane following at 8 p.m.

Up to six general seating tickets will be available per graduate, plus up to two additional seats for vaccinated spectators only. The ceremony will be broadcast on SWX.

Cheney will celebrate its graduates on June 11 at the outside concert venue at Northern Quest Resort and Casino.

The ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. and allow for 1,250 people to attend, which means that each senior will be allowed four guests.

The seniors at East Valley will celebrate at 6 p.m. on June 14 at the EVHS stadium with a drive-through to follow.

The class of 2021 at West Valley High School will be the first to graduate at Avista Stadium, home of the Spokane Indians. The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. on June 14.

Northern Quest will also host the graduates of Medical Lake, beginning at 11 a.m. on June 12.

At Freeman, the class of 2021 and their guests will celebrate on the grass of the FHS football stadium, on June 12 at 1 p.m.

Gonzaga Preparatory School will hold graduation on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Bullpup Stadium, with entrance by ticket only.

On June 12 at 1 p.m., the seniors of Deer Park will have a virtual ceremony, followed by a brief walk at the school’s theater, where seniors can get their diploma and a photo.

Graduation for Lakeside in Nine Mile Falls is set for June 11 at 7 p.m. at Riverfront Park, with admission by ticket only.

The graduates at Liberty will have an in-person ceremony Saturday at the school, beginning at 1 p.m.

At Northwest Christian, seniors and their families will attend a baccalaureate at Turning Point Open Bible Church, at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The graduates of Riverside will hold a drive-through graduation in the parking lot at 6 p.m. on June 11.