Commencement 2021: Here’s the scoop

Posted On: Friday, April 16, 2021

Keeping with a practice started last year, Commencement will be outside at Niedermeier Stadium. The ceremony is Thursday, May 27, starting at 6 p.m. (the rain date is Friday, May 28). 

Seniors will sit together on the field in a dedicated section in front of the main stage. A large, on-field seating area with chairs will be available for parents and other guests. The home-field bleachers also will be open for families and friends. Both the on-field seating and bleachers will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Gates open at 5 p.m. for both cars to enter the track and visitors to enter for seating).

All attendees -- students, families, parents, and staff -- must be masked throughout and practice proper social distancing. The graduates will be allowed to remove their masks (if they choose to do so) when they enter onto the stage to receive their diploma and official photograph.

Each of the 78 seniors and his or her parents will arrive in one car, and that car will be allowed to enter the stadium and park on the circular track surrounding the field. After the ceremony, those cars are invited to join the police-led Village parade (sorry seniors, but someone else has to drive the car through the parade). Last year’s event (the first of its kind) was well received, as residents by the hundreds camped on their lawns to show support to the Class of 2020 as its caravan wove triumphantly through Village streets.

The two-hour ceremony includes speeches from three seniors as well as the traditional awarding of diplomas. The event will be livestreamed on the district’s Facebook page.
Last year’s event moved outdoors as a way to accommodate families and their strong desire for a traditional ceremony even in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. (For decades, the ceremony was conducted inside the gym at the Junior/Senior High School.)

Thursday morning, (May 27), seniors will participate in the Senior Walk as they gather at the Elementary School and walk through the hallways of the building where, for many, their Ottawa Hills education began. Following the Senior Walk, they will proceed to the stadium for a rehearsal of the ceremony.

Questions? Contact Principal Ben McMurray at

Essential facts:

  • One car per family allowed to enter the stadium. That’s the car the senior and his/her family will use for the parade.
  • The stadium gates will open at 5 p.m. for cars to enter; ceremony begins at 6 p.m.
  • All other family members and guests will park in spots available in lots at the Junior/Senior High School or where allowed on surrounding streets.
  • The ceremony lasts approximately two hours and will be livestreamed on the district’s Facebook page.
  • The parade is expected to last about 30 minutes.
  • Rain date (all rules above to apply) will be Friday, May 28.

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