A possible new tradition awaits Knox County’s Class of 2019 as they walk into a new venue for commencement exercises.
Knox Central High and Lynn Camp High have both reached an agreement with The Arena to host this year’s graduation with the possibility of entering into an agreement to host future ceremonies for both schools.
“We feel that The Arena will solve many of the logistical issues that we face each year with graduation at both high schools,” stated Frank Shelton, Director of Communications for the Knox County Public Schools.
School and district officials met with staff at The Arena to discuss logistics that they would face with the move and to ensure that students and families would have a positive experience. The decision was made final on Friday to move both high schools to The Arena.
“For Lynn Camp seniors, The Arena eliminates the need for ticketed seats so that close family members can sit in the lower level chairback seating,” stated Shelton. “For Knox Central, The Arena will solve the annual problem of an overcrowded gym that quickly heats up due to so many people both in the bleachers and seated on the floor.”
The principals of both high schools are hopeful that this becomes a new tradition for their school after this year’s trial run at the new venue.
“Our goal is to recreate the atmosphere that we have at Lynn Camp graduations at The Arena,” explained Anthony Pennington, Principal at Lynn Camp. To achieve that goal, the stage will be moved to the center and black curtains will be dropped. There will be open seating for families with sections closest to the stage being filled first to allow close viewing of the ceremony.
Knox Central’s principal Jeff Frost states that the school has similar plans. “Our seniors will continue to march around the outside perimeter of the floor to allow families to cheer and take photos. By hosting graduation at The Arena, there will be ample seating and additional handicapped-accessible seating and parking to ensure all family members have a pleasant experience.”
“The total seating at The Arena is 5,000 fixed chairs with the option to add folding chairs around the upstairs concourse,” shared Shelton. “Each school will have ample seating for families to relax, in a cool environment, and enjoy their child or relative’s graduation.”
Lynn Camp’s commencement exercises are set for Friday, May 24, at 7 pm. Knox Central will conduct commencement exercises on Saturday, May 25, at 2 pm. Both ceremonies will be broadcast live online to allow friends and relatives that live out of the area an opportunity to view.
Knox Central and Lynn Camp seniors will be receiving additional information about the move to The Arena to share with their family. Knox Central will be collecting feedback to determine if optional transportation will be needed from the school to The Arena.