Broken Arrow Moves Graduation To Football Stadium

Monday, May 11th 2020, 10:30 pm
By: Erick Payne

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. - Seniors in Broken Arrow are getting a big change of scenery for their graduation next month.

Broken Arrow Public Schools says the Class of 2020 will graduate at the high school football stadium, instead of the BOK Center.

This would be held at the same scheduled time, which is 7:30 p.m. on June 30th.

School leaders say the plan is still being worked out, and some graduating seniors say they're trying to make the best of the situation.

For years, Broken Arrow High School's seniors have wrapped up their high school education with a large ceremony at the BOK Center in Tulsa. The arena can hold more than 16,000 people, which is more than enough space for the graduates and their families.

But, as schools continue to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, BA is moving their graduation to Memorial Stadium.

"I feel that Tiger Stadium is a more special place in the BOK, all of our memories are here, football games and everything," BAHS Senior Chandler Suddath said.

Suddath will be among those graduating from BAHS within the next couple months. The senior says the change in venue might be a silver lining.

"I'm satisfied, extremely happy," Suddath said.

The switch from the BOK to the high school stadium comes amid challenges to holding large events during the pandemic.

The BOK Center says they've had to furlough all of their team to some extent, and in order to host any event right now, they would have had to increase costs to adequately staff the graduation and provide necessary personal protective equipment. They say safety was their number one goal for the event.

Broken Arrow's Director of Student Life and Activities Christian Wellborn says they were coordinating closely with the BOK, and ultimately decided because of the increased cost, the best option was to keep the ceremony in BA.

"We want to make the most informed decision with the most current information that we could possibly have, and we feel like we can do that better at our stadium," Wellborn said.

The district is still working out the details on any limits for family members to attend, and what the guidelines for social distancing would be.

The district is also planning a virtual celebration for all graduates on May 19th.

Suddath says right now, they're just glad they might get a day to celebrate.

"No one wants to go into this forgetting about their hardworking years in school so it's definitely something to be remembered, and special," Suddath said.

Again, these plans are contingent on if all COVID-19 bans are lifted by the state and city by the time of graduation.