Arlington ISD Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos, along with Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones made the announcement Wednesday afternoon that the graduation for the class of 2020 would be held at AT&T Stadium.
"They want to graduate and they want to celebrate," Cavazos said.
The district took a survey of graduating seniors. The results showed they overwhelmingly wanted to hold an in-person graduation, even if it meant they had to wait.
When the Arlington ISD announced it would hold its 2020 graduation ceremonies at UT Arlington’s College Park Center last week, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) had not issued graduation procedures. Upon learning that ceremonies couldn’t be held indoors, the district immediately began working on a new graduation strategy with Charlotte Jones.
"I thought, boy, that stadium could certainly hold social distance graduation," Jones said of AT&T Stadium. "I'm a senior mom as well, so I certainly can relate to the drama and the disappointment of not getting to get that final moment in your cap and gown and to receive a diploma."
The Dallas Cowboys offered AT&T Stadium free as a graduation location to Arlington ISD students and parents.
"This gift has given them a memory, an experience, and an opportunity to be together as a senior class one last time," Cavazos said.
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The stadium’s retractable roof makes the facility an outdoor venue that meets TEA guidelines.
“We are humbled and grateful to the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Arlington Youth Foundation and Charlotte Jones for their extraordinary expression of generosity,” said Cavazos. “For our more than 4,000 seniors at seven high schools we know that being able to graduate in a beautiful location with their classmates and families present will be more meaningful than ever.”
AT&T Stadium will be hosting in partnership with the Arlington ISD and the Arlington Fire Department to provide the safest graduation possible.
"It's a lesson really for our entire graduating class that in these challenging times, when we pull together we can accomplish just about anything," Cavazos said.
The graduation schedule is as follows:
-Lamar High School - Friday, June 5 - 3:30 p.m.
-Arlington High School - Saturday, June 6 - 10 a.m.
-Seguin High School - Saturday, June 6 - 3 p.m.
-James Martin High School School - Saturday, June 6 - 8 p.m.
-Arlington Collegiate High School - Sunday, June 7 - 10 a.m.
-James Bowie High School - Sunday, June 7 - 3 p.m.
-Sam Houston High School - AISD - Sunday, June 7 - 8 p.m.
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Strict safety protocols will be in place for the ceremonies including health screenings and social distancing for all students and guests.
The Arlington ISD will post graduation protocols on its website soon.