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No Apple Bowl graduation for Class of 2015

Story broke Sept. 17, 2014
Story broke Sept. 17, 2014

Story broke here Sept. 17, 2014.

The 2015 graduation ceremony won’t be held at the Apple Bowl — the first time since 2001, when it was moved due to bad weather. Wenatchee School District’s Capital Improvement Bond, approved widely earlier this year, scheduled renovation work on the grandstands of the Apple Bowl to begin before the scheduled graduation date of June 5.

“The Apple Bowl is going to be under construction,” senior class adviser Brandon Harle said today. “If half of the seating in the Apple Bowl is gone, it’s physically impossible to hold an event that size.”

At the Aug. 26 school board meeting, Wenatchee High School Principal Bob Celebrezze and Harle presented the board with an alternative plan for the graduation ceremony.

Instead, school officials suggested that the graduation ceremony be held at the Town Toyota Center. Normally, graduation is held on Friday night. But there’s a problem — Eastmont High School already has the Town Toyota Center reserved on Friday night during graduation week. The solution? WHS will likely hold graduation on Thursday night, June 4.

“There will be graduation …  there always has been graduation,” Harle said. “There’s a 100-percent chance of graduation.”

Besides the Town Toyota Center, Harle said there are no other realistic options in the area. If the ceremony was held in the WHS gym, he said each graduate would get about two tickets. Nearly 5,000 people attend graduation each year, Harle said.

“It’s not a decision that was made lightly,” nor arbitrarily, Harle said. He understands that the disadvantage of not having graduation at the Apple Bowl is the tradition factor, but mentioned the advantages of better sound and sight by holding it at the Town Toyota Center.

Celebrezze was unavailable for comment this morning.

Architects on the improvement project expect it to be completed by the fall sports season of 2015.

Stadium construction delays are causing a problem for  Big Nine schools currently, Harle said, which is what WHS is trying to avoid in the 2015 season. Zaepfel Stadium in the Yakima School District is under construction, after voters there approved a bond. This has caused Davis and Eisenhower High School’s current fall sports to share Marquette Stadium, which is property of a Yakima private school.

Another WHS graduation tradition? Fireworks. Harle said not to worry — fireworks will be incorporated at the Town Toyota Center.

Look for additional coverage on this story in The Apple Leaf on Sept. 24.