St. Charles high schools set graduation ceremonies at NIU
High-school seniors in St. Charles have an extra reason to be in a celebratory mood about their upcoming graduation.
St. Charles Unit District 303 Superintendent Jason Pearson announced this week that graduation ceremonies for St. Charles East and St. Charles North will take place as scheduled on May 24 at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.
While the ceremonies traditionally take place indoors at the Convocation Center, COVID-19 pandemic restrictions will shift this year's events outdoors to Huskie Stadium. Pearson said the switch to a larger venue likely will allow graduates to expand their invite list from two people to four, if state authorities continue to ease gathering limits between now and May.
Pearson sounded optimistic that the number of guests could even expand beyond four per graduate.
"We'll continue to work with them on what the guidelines are as far as the capacity for the event," Pearson said. "But we are going to be able to have a ceremony where we'll have all of our students together. We will be able to have family members attend. And, as we get closer to that date, we'll be able to provide some updated information about the capacity."
The ceremony for St. Charles North will be at 4 p.m., followed by the St. Charles East ceremony at 7:30 p.m. on May 24. If rain forces a postponement, the ceremonies will be moved to May 25.
Pearson said capacity at Huskie Stadium is about 24,000. With the state's recently updated gathering limit of 20% for stadiums -- a limit that could expand by May -- ceremony attendance is capped at about 4,800.
The pandemic forced District 303 to cancel last year's graduation ceremonies, even after trying to set later dates in July and August. Instead, the district and families leaned on alternate ideas, such as a video ceremony, yard signs, virtual honors nights and a senior raffle.