Ocean Springs High students and staff react to graduation plans

The Ocean Springs School District has released its graduation plans for seniors this school year and now students and staff are reacting to those changes.

The graduation ceremony for the Ocean Springs High School class of 2020 was spread out over six days last year and held in the school’s auditorium due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, this year’s ceremony will see some changes after the class of 2021 made a decision on how to proceed with their big day as COVID-19 guidelines change.

Ocean Springs High School senior Carmen Price has big plans after graduation. “I’m going to the University of Mississippi, and I’ve been accepted into the early entry pharmacy program, so I’m going to be a pharmacist.”

Graduation for Price and her classmates will look different this year after the class decided on a new direction.

In a survey, 70 percent of seniors voted for a ceremony at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum over an outdoor ceremony at Greyhound Stadium. Ocean Springs High Assistant Principal Melissa Arnold said, “We needed to get their perspective and what they felt like was the most appropriate thing for their graduation.”

As their time at Ocean Springs High School winds down, seniors say that they’re excited to have graduation in a more traditional setting.

Price says the coliseum option gives the class the opportunity to all be together for this special time in their lives. “I feel like that’s the biggest thing the senior class wants, is for everyone to be able to graduate together. So, now that we’re going to be able to do that at the Coliseum, I feel like it makes it just so much better.”

With the venue and May 27th date now set, the focus now shifts to finalizing other details such as how many guests each graduate will get to invite. “As far as we know, the governor is still going to set that precedent as far as how many parents or how many people are allowed within that Coliseum, and as soon as we continue to get that guidance, we’ll continue to inform the parents and students.”

As for Price, she’s entering a period of reflection as she wraps up her four years as a high schooler. “I’ve just been really grateful for just being able to do what we can during this Covid-19 period and also prior to that.”

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