Last Friday, Superintendents across Denton County announced their plan to host their respective, individual high school Commencement Ceremonies in partnership with Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) to ensure all graduates at one of their 23 high schools participate in a “unique opportunity” to receive their diplomas.
During the ceremony, graduates will accept their diploma in-person on “Victory Lane” providing a memorable ending to a senior year filled with uncertain times. Event details, including the specific dates and times of each commencement, will be announced by each Denton County high school.
Sanger High School seniors will graduate May 19th at 8 p.m., at TMS. All school districts in Denton County will celebrate at TMS including Aubrey ISD; Argyle ISD; Denton ISD; Krum ISD; Lake Dallas ISD; Lewisville ISD; Little Elm ISD; Northwest ISD; Pilot Point ISD; Ponder ISD; Sanger ISD and Westlake Academy.
“We were glad to be able to provide some ideas to our area superintendents on how in-person graduation ceremonies can continue,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads.
“We know this is an important rite of passage for our Denton County seniors and their families.”
The large venue allows for the schools to host their ceremonies on, or near, their original dates in mid to late May and comply with recommended social distancing practices.
Parents and family members who attend will be asked to remain in their vehicles to watch the ceremony live while parked in the TMS infield. Family members who are in high risk categories for contracting COVID-19, or who are currently quarantined, are asked to remain at home and watch via Livestream.
“A great deal of thanks and appreciation for this program must go to Judge Andy Eads and his staff for their significant efforts in making this idea come to fruition in what was really a very short amount of time,” said Eddie Gossage, President and General Manager of Texas Motor Speedway. “ A high school graduation ceremony is such an important achievement and lifelong memory for students as well as their families and friends. We are honored by the opportunity to support each and every Denton County high school graduate as best we can in these difficult times.”
Texas Motor Speedway will project the Commencement Ceremony on “Big Hoss,” a 12-story, 218-foot-wide video board to ensure that every graduate is seen by those in attendance, both in-person and virtually. Graduates, wearing academic regalia in addition to masks, will walk across a staging area to receive their diploma.
The diploma presentation will be “hands-free” and respect the social distancing guidelines outlined by Denton County Health Services.
“We are excited to be a part of this wonderful opportunity at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). In conjunction with all Denton County School Districts, we will be moving our graduation to TMS, which will allow our seniors to have a memorable graduating ceremony,” said Sanger ISD Superintendent Dr. Tommy Hunter. “It has allowed us to move our graduation time and date back to the originally scheduled date of May 19, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
In these uncertain times COVID-19 has presented, we were unsure if any graduation plans were going to be approved by State Officials. Judge Eads played an instrumental role in connecting county school districts with Texas Motor Speedway allowing our graduation plans to resume.”
SHS Principal Mrs. Flaa will release more detailed information for the graduating students, parents and families. “We apologize for the short notice, but feel this decision will give our seniors a graduation to remember, as their senior year was greatly disrupted by COVID-19. Thank you for your understanding and continued support for our school district,” said Dr. Hunter.
Texas Motor Speedway, 3545 Lone Star Circle, is a NASCAR speedway located in the northernmost portion of the city of Fort Worth but located in Denton County.