By SCOTT COTTOS
Memorial Stadium has been the site of many memorable athletic achievements.
In an until-recently unplanned end to the 2019-20 school year, however, the stadium will host the consummate secondary school accomplishment later this month, as Fostoria High School honors the Class of 2020 with its commencement ceremony.
A total of 118 seniors are scheduled to receive their diplomas as a ceremony typically held at the school’s performing arts center moves to the stadium’s field named for longtime football coach Dick Kidwell.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly every facet of life for about the last two months, and high school graduations are no different as social distancing is exercised.
This won’t be the type of commencement most graduates have had, but Fostoria City Schools Superintendent Andrew Sprang expects it to be a memorable one that, he hopes, goes off without a hitch.
“There was a lot of collaboration, based on a survey we did of our potential graduates, and then working with local health department officials and district officials, we were able to come up with what I think we’ll be a good plan that allows kids to get a semblance of walking at a graduation ceremony and some photo opportunities and those types of things,” Sprang said. “We’re trying to make the best out of a challenging situation.”
Students must register for a time in advance at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090f4cacac2fa6fa7-fostoria. Each student’s first and last names should be entered, as well as the best email address to contact someone.
Each graduate will be limited to one vehicle and four guests for the May 31 ceremony set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each student will have a designated parking space.
Ten-student groups spaced in 20-minute intervals will walk through the commencement exercise, first moving from their vehicles to gatherings near the admission gate and then proceeding to different stations before receiving their diploma covers at the 50-yard line. They will then move on to reunite with their guests and collect their actual diplomas.
Professional photos will be taken and may be purchased, though there will also be limited opportunities for family members to take pictures. Graduates and their guests will immediately leave the stadium after their segments of the ceremony takes place.
In the event of inclement weather, the event will move into Fostoria Junior/Senior High School, using the small stage in the cafeteria.
A videotape will be compiled that will, as closely as possible, resemble a typical ceremony, including addresses by administrators and the valedictorian and salutatorian, and teachers “awarding” students their diplomas.
There will be no prom this year, so all members of the Class of 2020 are invited to attend next year.
Complete instructions for graduation day are available at Fostoria City Schools’ Facebook page.