Graduation season has arrived in Polk County.
Local public high schools will be taking over the Jenkins Arena at the RP Funding Center and other venues for five days to honor about 5,800 students who are graduating this year.
Students with special needs from the Doris Sanders, Jean O’Dell and Karen Siegel Learning Centers kicked off this year’s celebrations on Saturday morning at the Lake Region High School auditorium.
The pace picks up on Friday as Lakeland High School’s class of 2023 receives their diplomas and moves their tassels from right to left in a ceremony starting at noon at the RP Funding Center. Seniors from its sister school, Harrison School for the Arts, will cross the stage next at 3 p.m. followed by Lake Gibson Senior High students at 7 p.m.
In all, there will be 23 graduation ceremonies for Polk County Public Schools, 14 of them at the RP Funding Center.
Tickets are required for family and friends attending the ceremonies at the RP Funding Center, but seating is not assigned. Instead, seating will be general admission and on a first-come, first-served basis.
Knowing the importance of this event and that some family members may not be able to attend in person, the ceremonies taking place in the RP Funding Center Jenkins Arena will be livestreamed on the PCPS YouTube channel.
PCPS asks that “all guests are respectful during the entire ceremony, specifically during presentation of diplomas to ensure all graduates receive their moment of recognition.” In addition, officials remind both graduates and guests that “graduation is a formal ceremony. Any inappropriate action observed during the ceremony may result in immediate removal from the venue.”
Each school has been assigned a specific parking lot in order to keep the schedule running on time, allowing for all guests to enter and exit the building in an efficient manner. See the PCPS website for information on parking lots assigned to your school.
Guests planning on sitting together should arrange to meet outside of the venue and enter together. Seat saving is not permitted. People will not be allowed to exit and then re-enter the building. The graduation schedule is as follows:
|School||Day||Date||Time||Location||To be livestreamed?|
|Doris Sanders, Jean O’Dell, Karen Siegel||Saturday||May 13||10 a.m.||Lake Region High Auditorium||Yes (Link)|
|Lakeland Senior High||Friday||May 19||Noon||RP Funding Center||Yes (LSH Link)|
|Harrison School for the Arts||Friday||May 19||3 p.m.||RP Funding Center||Yes (HSA Link)|
|Frostproof Middle-Senior||Friday||May 19||6 p.m.||Faris Brannen Stadium, Frostproof||No|
|Lake Gibson Senior High||Friday||May 19||7 p.m.||RP Funding Center||Yes (LGSH Link)|
|Roosevelt Academy||Friday||May 19||7 p.m.||Roosevelt Academy Gymnasium||No|
|Fort Meade Middle-Senior||Saturday||May 20||8 a.m.||Emory C. Lamb Stadium||No|
|Auburndale Senior High||Saturday||May 20||9 a.m.||Bruce Canova Stadium||No|
|Haines City Senior High/IB||Saturday||May 20||9 a.m.||RP Funding Center||Yes (HCSH Link)|
|Davenport High||Saturday||May 20||1 p.m.||RP Funding Center||Yes (DHS Link)|
|Ridge Community High||Saturday||May 20||5 p.m.||RP Funding Center||Yes (RCHS Link)|
|Kathleen Senior High||Monday||May 22||Noon||RP Funding Center||Yes (KSH Link)|
|Mulberry Senior High||Monday||May 22||3 p.m.||RP Funding Center||Yes (MSH Link)|
|George W. Jenkins Senior High||Monday||May 22||7 p.m.||RP Funding Center||Yes (GJSH Link)|
|Tenoroc High||Tuesday||May 23||Noon||RP Funding Center||Yes (THS Link)|
|Lake Region High||Tuesday||May 23||3 p.m.||RP Funding Center||Yes (LRHS Link)|
|Gause Academy of Leadership||Tuesday||May 23||5 p.m.||Bartow Elementary Academy Auditorium||No|
|Winter Haven Senior High||Tuesday||May 23||7 p.m.||RP Funding Center||Yes (WHSH Link)|
|Ridge & Traviss Technical Colleges |
(East Area and West Area Adult Schools)
|Wednesday||May 24||Noon||RP Funding Center||Yes (Link)|
|Polk Virtual & Polk Grad Academy||Wednesday||May 24||2 p.m.||Florida Southern College Branscomb Auditorium||No|
|Bartow/IB/Summerlin||Wednesday||May 24||5 p.m.||RP Funding Center||Yes (Link)|
|Fresh Start – Bartow/ Lakeland||Wednesday||May 24||6 p.m.||Harrison School for the Arts Auditorium||No|
|Fresh Start – Winter Haven||Wednesday||May 24||6 p.m.||Davenport High School Auditorium||No|
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