|Taconic High's Graduation to Be Held at Boys & Girls Club|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
02:33AM / Thursday, May 09, 2019
|The new Taconic High School's gym is not big enough for the graduation ceremony.|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The first class to graduate from the newly constructed Taconic High School will do so at the Boys and Girls Club.
The graduation had typically been held in the high school's gymnasium. However, the new school's gym is smaller than the previous one and last year's graduation was the last one before the former home of the Braves was torn down.
McCandless said the size of the new gymnasium would have limited families to have about four tickets inside and that other family members would have to watch it on a screen in the auditorium.
"We have lots of young people with big families, with complicated families, with step parents and step grandparents, uncles and aunts. We have kids who are first in their family high school graduates and to those families, if they want to have 20 people there we want them to have 20 people there," McCandless said.
"We have 180 graduates and outside of Tanglewood, we thought that is probably the second biggest venue really in the neighborhood without going to a Williams College or an MCLA."
Tanglewood in Lenox is where Pittsfield High School's graduations have been held but the summer home of the Boston Symphony wasn't available for earlier that Sunday, June 9, afternoon. Lenox Memorial High's held that time and date for years. McCandless said he met with a group of about 20 students to look at various options.
He said Tanglewood did have an opening for the Saturday before but at that point, families had already set their plans around the Sunday graduation. He said many have planned parties, rented tents, or had family members with tickets to fly in for it already.
"We can't jam families up financially and logistically like that so we had to stick with Sunday," McCandless said.
The superintendent said holding it outside was considered but there wasn't an accommodation readily available if there was poor weather. He said Berkshire Community College was looked at but none of its spaces had the capacity needed.
The Boys and Girls Club has a similar, if not larger, space as the old Taconic gym and McCandless said it allows for families to have nearly triple the amount of tickets than they would have in the newly built gym.
"We think that has a capacity of 2,000 people in the bleachers and seats on the floor, we think we can get in the neighborhood of 10 to 12 tickets for each student," McCandless said.
He added that St. Joseph's Church agreed to allow the school to use its parking lot after Mass to accommodate the vehicular travel.
The location has had some mixed reviews with some students feeling disappointed with it while others are excited, having spent a lot of time there growing up. McCandless said even though it isn't in the school gym, the ceremony will still be honoring of the graduating class.
"We felt the Boys and Girls Club honors the kids, honors the families, and we are fortunate to have great partners in them. We will see how it goes and reassess for next year," McCandless said.