Graduation To Head Back Inside

Ceremony to be held on Sunday, June 5

Lindsey Weiden ('22), Orbit Contributor

Recently, it was confirmed that the graduation for the RMHS Senior Class of 2022 will be held in the Hawkes Field House due to planned construction on the stadium.

Before the 2019-2020 school year, graduation was always held in the Hawkes Field House. Due to COVID concerns, graduation was held on the football field for the RMHS Senior Class of 2020 and the RMHS Senior Class of 2021. However, the ceremony will return to the field house on Sunday, June 5th since the football field and track are being renovated this spring and summer.

Principal Tracey wanted to hold graduation at the stadium, but the upcoming construction project made that impossible. “We are starting construction at the beginning of April and that construction will continue throughout the summer [and it] will definitely affect graduation,” Mr. Tracey said. The RMHS staff considered using the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts, but the field house was the most practical location. “The Tsongas Center is cavernous, it just feels impersonal,” Mr. Tracey explained. “It doesn’t feel like a Reading site, and I really thought it was important to do something on campus. The field house has been used for decades and we know the setup.” 

Many community members enjoyed the outdoor setup, and RMHS history teacher Ms. Fedele pointed out one of the flaws of having the ceremony in the field house. The field house can be extremely hot in the late spring. Ms. Fedele said, “It’s always a wonderful ceremony, you know, with excellent speakers. But in terms of the actual atmosphere, location, air quality, and air temperature, I’ve always found it to be stifling and very uncomfortable.” Ms. Fedele has not attended an outdoor graduation ceremony at RMHS, but she believes it would be a better option. “I can envision in my perfect world that graduation for RMHS seniors would be outside on a comfortable day,” Ms. Fedele explained. 

There are concerns about the heat in the field house, but the RMHS staff has plans to keep the space cool. Mr. Tracey offered, “We are going to open the bay doors, the garage doors, and we’ll have enormous fans to help circulate [air]. We’ll do the best we can.”