Hope Public Schools

Class of 2021 to Return to Hammons

Ken McLemore

HOPE – Hope High School commencement exercises will return to their traditional venue May 14 for the seniors of the HHS Class of 2021.

A change in recent years to the expansive venue of Hempstead Hall continued to present HHS with standing room only crowds at graduation ceremonies each year, but it has been the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic that fostered the return to Hammons Stadium on the HHS campus this year.

State and federal mandates regarding large venue indoor gatherings have stymied multiple cherished events through the year in which the pandemic has affected every aspect of student life. As a result, a plan was developed and approved by the Hope Public Schools Board of Education in March for the return to an outdoor ceremony.

The program will begin at 6 p.m., and HHS Principal Bill Hoglund has said should the weather interfere the ceremony will be moved to May 15 or May 16 as needed.

Each graduating senior will be issued a code to allow 6 passes each, Hoglund said.

Hoglund said six attendees will allow both parents and grandparents, particularly, to be present.

Seating will be provided to accommodate social distancing requirements. Graduating seniors will enter from the MAC complex side of Hammons Stadium and guests will enter from the 18th Street side of the stadium.

The HHS Band will be seated on the football field behind the graduating class, and will perform the National Anthem, Pomp and Circumstance, the HHS Fight Song and the HHS Alma Mater.

Hope native, noted sports/pop culture artist and 1993 HHS alumnus Steven Waldren, of St. Louis, Mo., who spoke to the Class of 2020 by digital livestream will return to address the Class of 2021 in person.

Waldren’s sports-based art has been featured on NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox television networks, on the websites of Major League Baseball and Sports Illustrated, and in his contributions to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Muscular Dystrophy association, and other charities.

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