Charles Co. Graduations Moving Back to County

LA PLATA, Md.—Charles County high school graduations are coming home in 2015. The class of 2015 will walk across stages in Charles County to accept their diplomas, reversing a 13-year-old practice of holding CCPS graduations at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro.

This is the last school year for CCPS graduations outside of the county, said Superintendent Kimberly Hill, a proponent of in-county graduations. “Graduation is an important milestone, and one that I believe should take place right here in our own community,” Hill said.

Hill’s decision to require Charles County locations for the class of 2015 graduations is based partly on a policy change at the Show Place Arena. The Show Place Arena changed its rules, limiting Charles County to two rather than three graduations each day. As a result, graduations for the class of 2014 are spread across three days, creating challenges for after-graduation activities like Project Graduation. Five of Charles County’s six high schools have used the Show Place Arena for graduations since 2001. The school system secures graduation dates, times and locations more than a year in advance, locking in the Show Place Arena for this school year.

High school principals are already planning for 2015 and asking the class of 2015 parents and students for feedback about possible graduation locations. A 2015 graduation location survey is posted on the CCPS website at and on each school’s website. This year’s junior class will be the first affected by the change. There are a number of options available to schools, Hill said. “Schools will determine their graduation location and can choose to hold graduations at their own facility, in the Convocation Center at North Point High School or at another Charles County venue. It is up to the principal and school community to decide,” Hill said.

“Charles County is a great place to live, to work and to go to school. Graduates of Charles County Public Schools should be recognized for their accomplishments in our community, and we look forward to making these events memorable for our graduates and their families,” Hill said.

This school year, Henry E. Lackey, La Plata, Maurice J. McDonough, Thomas Stone and Westlake high schools graduation ceremonies are scheduled at the Show Place Arena on May 30, June 2 and June 3. McDonough seniors graduate at 10:30 a.m. on May 30, followed by Lackey at 3:30 p.m. La Plata’s commencement begins at 10:30 a.m. on June 2; Westlake follows at 3:30 p.m. Thomas Stone’s seniors graduate at 10:30 a.m. on June 3. North Point seniors graduate at 6 p.m., June 3, in the convocation center at the school.

McDonough relocated its graduation from the school to the Show Place Arena in 1995, a move gradually followed by the other high schools. By 2001, all five CCPS high schools held ceremonies at the Prince George’s County facility. North Point uses its convocation center, which has seating for nearly 4,700, for graduation ceremonies, a practice, started with its first graduating class in 2009.

Source: Charles County Public Schools

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