End-of-year celebrations getting face-lift in Gilbert Public Schools

Marcie Taylor
Marcie Taylor, secondary schools executive director for Gilbert Public Schools, briefed the governing board March 2 on how end-of-year celebrations could change for district high schools. (Screen capture from YouTube)

Marcie Taylor, secondary schools executive director for Gilbert Public Schools, briefed the governing board March 2 on how end-of-year celebrations could change for district high schools. (Screen capture from YouTube)

Gilbert Public Schools’ end-of-year celebrations may move and get some new looks, district officials told the governing board at its March 2 work-study session.

Desert Ridge and Mesquite high schools, which have held their graduations at Arizona State University’s Wells Fargo Arena in previous years, will have to bring their ceremonies back to their campus stadiums, said Marcie Taylor, secondary education executive director.

The other high schools in the district already hold their graduations on district campuses, Taylor said.

The planning has started for those ceremonies, which will be livestreamed as the district plans to limit how many people can come in support of each graduate, Taylor said.

She said the district hopes that each graduate can have four people in attendance, but she noted that at some campuses that brings stadium capacity to nearly half full. At Desert Ridge, it would be 55% of capacity.


Other traditional celebrations also may see mitigation strategies that could be different by school, Taylor said. For example, senior dinners may be spread out with families only at each table and no buffet line.

Baccalaureates, special ceremonies by the schools for their graduates that include things such as student performances and motivational speeches, could face challenges in putting performers on stage. Senior awards nights might have to change venues and have families sit together separated from others.

Prom also is an issue, Taylor said, as many venues require a hefty deposit that would be forfeited if anything should happen to cancel the event. She said students are getting creative in coming up with alternatives, such as “red carpet” events.

Taylor said she is reviewing the plans for these to make certain mitigation strategies are being followed.
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.