Today is graduation day for nearly 1,500 high school seniors from the Denton school district.
Ceremonies for Denton’s three comprehensive high schools begin at 11 a.m. with Denton High School, followed by Guyer High at 2:30 p.m. and Ryan High at 6 p.m. All three graduation ceremonies will take place at the University of North Texas Coliseum.
A spring graduation for 31 graduates at Fred Moore High School, Denton’s alternative high school, took place Wednesday at the UNT Gateway Center.
“It is such an exciting time because each school individualizes its own graduation to reflect its student body,” said Sharon Cox, a spokeswoman for the Denton school district. “Each graduation is unique to itself.
“Every graduation ceremony has a unique ceremony and a unique feel to it because it’s about them.”
Ryan High School, which has 525 graduating seniors, is expected to hand diplomas to Denton’s largest Class of 2014, followed by Guyer, which has 524 graduates and Denton High, which will confer diplomas to 447 students. According to officials, all three high schools intend to broadcast their graduation ceremonies live via the Internet. Information about how to access the webcasts will be available on the high school websites.
Each graduation ceremony usually lasts between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on the number of graduates and length of student addresses, Cox said.
“Over the years, we have timed the graduations to be three and a half hours apart from each other to allow friends and family of each graduating class ... to leave before the next graduating class and their friends and family arrive,” she said. “We do start graduation on time, so we encourage families and friends of our graduates to arrive a little early to [provide] time for parking and getting into the coliseum prior to the entrance ... of our graduates.”
For those arriving on Interstate 35E, it will be best to avoid Eagle Drive and North Texas Boulevard exits, which are expected to have the heaviest traffic, said UNT police Capt. Jim Coffey. Instead, routes from Bonnie Brae, Hickory and Oak streets or Fort Worth Drive would be advisable.
“The more people we can get to come in from the north and the east, as opposed to the south and the west, the better off they are,” Coffey said.
Traffic from the ceremonies will most likely not overlap he said, although depending on the number of pedestrians leaving the ceremonies, North Texas Boulevard may shut down between Highland Street and Eagle Drive.
For drivers who are dropping off guests with special needs, there is a circular drop-off in front of the coliseum, accessible via Maple Street, which is one-way, east to west.
Despite an increase in officers and traffic control, there will still be congestion, so Coffey suggested preparing for traffic and staying calm.
“Again, come early, and be prepared for congestion, and follow the officer’s direction who is in front of you,” he said.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.