BISD finalizing graduation plans; Commencements to begin in June

The Brownsville Independent School District is finalizing graduation plans for the district’s seven early college high schools. Ceremonies will be held on successive nights beginning June 1, at 7:30 p.m. at Sams Memorial Stadium.

Rivera Early College High School will go first, followed by Hanna, Veterans Memorial, Pace, BECHS, Lopez, and concluding with Porter on June 7.

Commissioner of Education Mike Morath on May 5 approved in-person outdoor graduation ceremonies statewide as long as they comply with social distancing regulations that are part of state and local executive orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Each graduate will receive two tickets for his or her ceremony. Facial masks will be required and seating throughout the stadium will spaced far enough apart to ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines.

All guests and graduating students will be subject to inspection upon arrival. Attendees are encouraged to leave bags, purses, backpacks, boxes, and strollers securely in their vehicles. Noisemakers are not allowed.

An added level of security will be provided through the use of metal detectors, which will be located at several entrances to the stadium.

Superintendent Rene Gutierrez said the entire football field will be utilized to seat the graduates, while seating for parents and guardians will be on both the home and visitors’ side of the field.

“Having in-person ceremonies has always been our goal and we’re glad the Texas Education Agency has given us permission to have them,” Gutierrez said. “Everyone will be able to walk across the stage and receive their diploma.”

He added people will be scheduled to come to the stadium in small groups to avoid the possibility of a crowd of people queuing up waiting to be seated.

“It’s going to be different, but we hope it’s an enjoyable evening and a memorable experience for our graduates,” he said.

In case of inclement weather, the ceremonies would be held a week later, starting on June 8.