Local Principal Wants Options for Graduation Dates

Armstrong High School Principal James Rummel asked the school board to consider the possibility of choosing three dates for graduation next June and make the final determination based on best weather.

Armstrong Senior High School Principal James Rummel approached the Armstrong School District (ASD) board of directors last night with a suggestion for the 2020 graduating class.

“Last year at AHS, we had our first graduation at the Stadium,” Rummel explained.  “It was fantastic. Approximately 2,500 were in attendance. If we had poor weather, we would not have been able to have it in the Stadium. Had we had to go to auditorium, we would have had to turn away 1,500 people.”

June 2, 2020 – a Tuesday – is scheduled for graduation in the school calendar.

Rummel proposed that the school board establish a “window” that perhaps would be from Monday, June 1 until Wednesday June 3 in case of inclement weather. This would make sure students get the opportunity to experience a stadium graduation.

ASD Superintendent Chris DeVivo said  it could not be backed up to June 1, since it cannot be held prior to the last day of school for seniors.

ASD Board President Chris Choncek gave the down-side of the plan.

“The common thing I hear is that when it gets moved, it disrupts plans, whether vacation or military – things they have already planned on,” he said. “But they generally know things can happen. The key is to get the word out early rather than wait so it doesn’t impact schedules for parents and students.”

ASD Board member Tim Scaife was concerned about when the change would actually be announced to the public.

“Are you going to decide at 4PM in afternoon, or 8AM the morning of (graduation)?” Scaife asked. “How will you notify everyone in the community? I think there are logistical problems. You don’t know what the weather will be like in Western Pennsylvania.”

Rummel said he got the idea from another school district that did it last year with great success.

“I have had many positive comments on our graduation in the Stadium last year,” Choncek said. “It was easy to see our graduates. It’s a perfect location. I would like to see it held there every year.”

The school board thanked Mr. Rummel for his input, but made no decision on his request.