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High school graduation dates, locations confirmed

Annie Blanks
Pensacola News Journal

Santa Rosa County’s high school seniors finally have dates set to walk across the stage and get their diplomas this summer.

The Santa Rosa County School District School Board approved revised dates for high schools to hold graduation ceremonies after canceling the initial ceremonies due to COVID-19.

Rescheduling and moving locations for all of the high schools was like "trying to hit a moving target at 100 miles per hour and the rules of the game are changing constantly," said Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick, but district leaders were able to use high school stadiums and the Pensacola Bay Center to arrange ceremonies.

The ceremonies will take place at the following times and locations:

Thursday, June 18

Milton High School at the Milton High School Stadium, 8:20 p.m.

Friday, June 19

— Pace High School at the Pensacola Bay Center, 9 a.m.

— Gulf Breeze High School at the Pensacola Bay Center, 2 p.m.

— Navarre High School at the Pensacola Bay Center, 7 p.m.

Monday, June 22

— Blended Academy at the Milton High School Stadium, 5 p.m.

— Santa Rosa High School at the Milton High School Stadium, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 23

— Central School on the activity field, 5 p.m.

— Jay High School at the Jay High School Stadium, 7 p.m.

In the event of inclement weather like rain or lightning, the following dates and times have been set aside for make-up ceremonies:

Saturday, June 22 (rain reschedule)

— Milton High School at the Milton High School Stadium, 8:20 p.m.

Thursday, June 25 (rain reschedule)

— Santa Rosa High School at the Milton High School Stadium, 7 p.m.

Friday, June 26 (rain reschedule)

— Central School on the activity field, 5 p.m.

— Jay High School at the Jay High School Stadium, 7 p.m.

Milton High School’s senior class specifically requested to have its ceremony at 8:20 p.m., which translates to 20:20 in military time.

The School Board will pay $28,250 to host the graduations at the Bay Center. Seniors graduating at both the Bay Center and their high school stadiums will receive a limited number of tickets for family members in order to abide by strict social distancing guidelines, and families will not be allowed to congregate for photos or receptions before or after the ceremonies.

The Bay Center will be disinfected and fogged in between each ceremony. Participants will be asked not to come to graduation if they are sick or have experienced symptoms of COVID-19.

“This is new, this is totally different than anything we’ve ever done before, and it’s not going to be perfect,” said school board Chairman Buddy Hinote. “We’re relying on the trust of the public and students before they come to our graduation, so it’s imperative, I think, that we remember that we’ve got to stress the importance to those folks about being truthful (about whether or not they are sick) because of the fact that we could potentially be exposing folks if they’re not.”

Annie Blanks can be reached at ablanks@pnj.com or 850-435-8632.