MCHS to host outdoor graduation ceremony with all seniors

The Class of 2022 will graduate in an ceremony combining students from East and West for the first time at McCracken



Seniors from the class of 2021 toss their caps during a low-capacity graduation ceremony in the West Campus main gym on May 20, 2021. This year’s graduation ceremony is scheduled to take place at McCracken Field with no COVID restrictions.

Vanessa Moreno, News Editor

On May 21, Upper Campus will hold its first fully in-person graduation since the combining of East and West as well as the height of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The ceremony will take place at McCracken Field at 11:00 a.m. In case of inclement weather, two ceremonies will be held at the Upper Campus Main Gym.

“I like that [the ceremony] is being held outside,” senior Carissa Hudson said. “I think it’s fitting for our graduating class to be different from years past given what we’ve gone through during our high school career. Now that the campuses are combined, I was worried we would have to split up the ceremonies and I wouldn’t get to graduate with all of my friends, but graduating at McCracken still allows us to do that.”

Holding the graduation ceremony is a major change as previously each campus held its graduation and during the coronavirus pandemic, several small graduations were held. 

“It will definitely be a new experience,” math instructor and Key Club advisor Emma Theel said. “I am not a huge fan of the outdoors … but I will put up with it to be able to see my students walk across the stage.”

According to a letter by MCHS Principal Dr. Jeff Prickett, all students must wear their graduation cap and gown at the ceremony. The only accessories allowed will be honor cords distributed by school organizations and military stoles for those who completed boot camp. In addition, students are allowed to decorate their caps with appropriate designs.

“I am very excited about getting to decorate our caps this year,” Hudson said. “I thought it was a little unfair that West kids weren’t allowed to in the past, but East kids could … I will be decorating mine, but you’ll have to wait and see what I do.”

To graduate, students must have completed all graduation requirements mandated by the District 156 Board of Education. Student fees must also be paid before May 16 to receive tickets for the ceremony.

“Seniors who are at risk of not graduating should do everything possible to complete graduation requirements in the few weeks that remain prior to the end of the school year,” Prickett said in the letter.

Before and during the ceremony, appropriate behavior is expected. Certain behaviors could cause students to lose graduation privileges. According to Prickett’s letter, students committing senior pranks that damage school property or violate handbook rules could be removed from the ceremony.

Throughout Upper Campus, seniors have expressed their excitement about graduation and the next chapter of their lives.

“It hasn’t quite hit me fully that we’re graduating yet,” Hudson said. “I am incredibly excited to start my next chapter at Saint Louis University in the fall, but at the same time I’m sad to be leaving my friends and family … Even though I’m moving away in just a few short months, McHenry will always be my home.”

Additionally, both teachers and students are relieved to have some sense of normalcy after the last few years and look forward to celebrating the Class of 2022.

“I am very excited for this year’s graduation ceremony,” Theel said. “It is the culmination of a student’s four years of work and I love celebrating all of my students and their accomplishments and honors. I am also really glad to go to one ceremony this year and not the 14 ceremonies that I went to last year.”