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Graduation, banquet dates cause some confusion

April 26, 2006

Oftentimes, Tonganoxie High School's alumni banquet falls on Mother's Day weekend.

But this year it's graduation -- not the alumni banquet -- that's the day before Mother's Day.

THS principal Tatia Shelton said graduation, which is set for 7 p.m. May 13, will be about the same date as usual. In 2005, THS graduation was on May 14, and in 2004, it was on May 15.

And, it just happens that Mother's Day, which is always the second Sunday of May, will be May 14 this year, which put graduation and Mother's Day on the same weekend.

John W. Evans II, a 1981 THS graduate, is on the committee organizing this year's alumni banquet.

Evans said the fact that the banquet will be a week before Mother's Day has caused some confusion.

For instance, Evans said, the 50-year class will go ahead and have their reunion on Mother's Day weekend, as some of the class members had already made flight reservations.

That group will meet May 13 at Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse, Evans said.

Another change this year is that the high school's alumni banquet will be at Tonganoxie Christian Church, 204 Washington, because the high school is in the midst of a construction project.

And, Evans said, last year, those who attended the alumni banquet needed to buy tickets ahead of time. This year, tickets also will be sold at the door.

He noted though that tickets are available at Evans Insurance, both Tonganoxie First State Bank locations, Community National Bank and B&J Country Mart.

Rain plans

Although the school district is planning for its annual outdoor graduation, officials also are making contingency plans.

Normally if it rains, graduation is held in the high school gym. But with the school under construction, the ceremony would be moved into the junior high.

Tonganoxie school superintendent Richard Erickson estimated graduation attendance at 2,500 to 3,000 when it's at the football field.

"Obviously when we move indoors we're limited and the number drops to less than 2,000 normally," Erickson said.

The rain plans would put graduation in the junior high gymnasium, with audience seating on the bleachers and in the commons area above the gym, as well as in the music room. Erickson said the school would be prepared to broadcast a live video of graduation to the commons area and music room if necessary.

One thing that would help the contingency plan, Erickson said, is that this year's graduation class -- with about 105 graduates -- is smaller than usual.

In 2005 the high school had 112 graduates and in 2004, 124 graduates.

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