THE GOSHEN NEWS
The Goshen community has a problem that is a great one to have.
Each year 400-plus seniors line up in their red and white gowns on the floor of the Goshen High School gymnasium to receive their diplomas and turn their tassels. It’s a moment in time that makes loving relatives smile, shed tears and break out in applause. It’s also a time of concern for safety as those families fill every seat in the gymnasium’s stands and also stand shoulder to shoulder where they can.
The huge graduation crowds surpass any basketball game there. Such overflow crowds in limited spaces have been the recipes for disasters in many venues — from nightclubs to soccer stadiums. Also, when that many people pack the stands at the GHS gym on a hot June Sunday afternoon, somebody’s likely to have a health problem. That occurred last year, according to GHS Principal Barry Younghans. And because of the overpacked stands, emergency responders had a hard time reaching the victim.
Younghans has decided on a solution we think is appropriate, fair and well thought-out. The plan is to issue each graduating senior six tickets. Those seniors can then hand the tickets out to whom they choose. Any tickets not utilized by students can be returned for other students to use.
Some might ask why not just move graduation outside to the football stadium. That is an option. Some schools set up graduation for both indoor and outdoor ceremonies. If weather becomes a threat, then someone can make a late call to move the ceremony indoors.
But, such a last-minute decision might anger family members who have traveled to Goshen thinking they would be able to watch a loved-one achieve a big goal. Then there would also be the logistical challenge of setting up two sound systems, two podiums, two sets of seats, etc. And if the call to move indoors was made, graduating seniors who were anticipating a smooth happy transition to adulthood would have to make last-second, painful choices on who in their family would receive their ticket allotment.
To date, there doesn’t seem to be an outpouring of concern in Goshen about the change to tickets. That’s a good sign that Younghans has made the right decision and community members realize that safety has to be a big part of any graduation ceremony.
Barring an overwhelming negative response from graduates and their families, we think the indoor ceremony with attendance limited to ticket holders is an acceptable and sound approach to this problem.