VHS grads irked over Temple plan

Published 11:37 am Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rosa A. Temple High School’s 50th reunion ceremony will be on the field at Vicksburg High School May 24 but will not interfere with the graduation of this year’s VHS class, the superintendent of the Vicksburg Warren School District said Tuesday.

“They will have their ceremony and festivities prior to the graduation,” Dr, Elizabeth Swinford said of Temple’s class of 1962. “At 6:30 we will have the field available for the graduates to line up. Everything will be set up in advance as we always do.”

Some members of the VHS class of 2012 and their parents, however, have signed and submitted a petition calling for Swinford to cancel the Temple festivities, concerned they will detract from what should be the graduates’ special day.

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“Our concern is that it’s taking away from our day,” said VHS senior Yanisha Baldwin. “It’s taken us 12 years to get this far and to say we made it. We’ve been looking forward to this since we were freshmen, and we don’t want Rosa A. Temple to share the field.”

VHS’ graduation is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.; Temple’s, at 6. A key feature of the Temple celebration will be former graduates lining up on the field at the stadium to be awarded honorary diplomas.

In addition, Swinford said, members of the district’s pilot Accelerated Program for Transition who are receiving GED certificates could be on the field at 5. “If they want to do it, we’ll do it then,” she said.

The VHS seniors also have said they are concerned about parking and the possibility of older family members waiting if the ceremony is delayed, said Baldwin.

“If it takes too long, they’ll be tired and stuck waiting in the heat,” she said.

Swinford, who confirmed receiving the petition, said off-site parking will be arranged near the City Pool and at the Ameristar Hotel parking lot on Washington Street, with buses available to shuttle people to and from the stadium.

“I would be more concerned about rain, with only two tickets per child if the graduation has to be held in the auditorium,” she said. “This (the Temple reunion) is just good community service and a rite of passage. The kids will get to see what these people who graduated 50 years ago have made of themselves.”