Perry High School finds a way to celebrate its seniors: turning on the stadium lights

Perry High School, a Chandler USD school in Gilbert, is turning on its stadium lights nightly to celebrate the senior class. (Courtesy Perry High School)
Perry High School, a Chandler USD school in Gilbert, is turning on its stadium lights nightly to celebrate the senior class. (Courtesy Perry High School)

Perry High School, a Chandler USD school in Gilbert, is turning on its stadium lights nightly to celebrate the senior class. (Courtesy Perry High School)

At 8:20 p.m. every night until May 27, the stadium lights on the Perry High School football field will turn on for 20 minutes at 8:20 p.m., or 20:20 in military time.

The lights, Principal Dan Serrano said, are a way to honor the school's 947 seniors up until the school's scheduled graduation ceremony date.

"We've got to do something to recognize them," Serrano said.

With graduation up in the air for high school and college seniors across the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak, schools are getting creative in finding ways to celebrate the hard work of the seniors.

Serrano said a counselor at Perry saw the idea on social media from a high school in the Midwest. After getting permission from the district, the school turned the stadium lights on promptly at 8:20 p.m. for the first time April 6. Perry High is a Chandler USD school located in the town of Gilbert.


"We got a lot of positive reaction from families," Serrano said. "I think anything we can do to let kids and families know we are thinking about them is important."

Serrano said no matter what, he will find a way to make sure the class of 2020 is properly celebrated.

"We’re still hoping and praying for those families that there is a clearance to have a graduation ceremony," Serrano said. "That would have to come from the governor. If that doesn't happen, we have plans in place. We haven't shut down. We are still working, and our seniors are our focus."

Serrano said he encourages other schools to turn on their stadium lights for the senior class. On April 7, the skies above Hamilton High School and Casteel High School also lit up.