Natomas and Inderkum high schools have moved their graduation ceremonies this week to Golden 1 Center at the last minute due to rainy weather, the school district announced over the weekend.
Natomas Unified School District said in a statement Saturday that the ceremony would be moved to the Kings’ venue due to “unsettled” weather.
The high schools’ graduation ceremonies will be held at their original times – 6 p.m. Tuesday for Natomas High and 6 p.m. Wednesay for Inderkum – but district officials are urging students and attendees to get to Golden 1 Center early, noting that parking is not free. Students check in at 4:30 p.m. and doors open to guests at 5 p.m.
In a letter to students, staff and parents, district superintendent Chris Evans briefly considered a hypothetical: What if it didn’t end up raining either day?
“Murphy’s law ... both days end up beautiful and there was no need to move,” Evans wrote. “However, our philosophy won’t change. Safety for our students, staff and families stays first. So this is the smart thing to do (and maybe even the start of a new tradition).”
Half of that prophecy may be about to materialize. While the day’s forecast as of Tuesday morning calls for off-and-on showers and a possibility of thunderstorms, Wednesday is currently expected to be partly cloudy with a high of 75, according to the National Weather Service.
“While a little rain won’t hurt anyone, the on-and-off prediction of potential lightning, and even some of the intensity of rain we’ve had recently – after forecasts initially called for ‘sprinkles’ – have prompted us to come up with this Plan B for our graduation ceremonies,” Evans wrote in a Saturday message. “Heavy rains and lightning do not mix well with metal bleachers and guests who will face physical challenges when bleacher steps are slippery. Besides, views are disrupted if umbrellas are everywhere.”
Evans said there were no indoor venues in Natomas big enough to accommodate either high schools’ graduation ceremonies. Previous years’ ceremonies were held at each school’s football stadium.
The district on Sunday posted an updated list of guidelines given the venue shift, in accordance with the stadium’s rules.
Among the rules: Graduating students “will not have access to family members, friends or other guests until after they leave Golden 1 Center,” and the venue prohibits numerous items including balloons, noise-makers, beach balls, backpacks and more.
Additionally, all visitors’ bags or purses will be checked at the entrance to Golden 1 Center, and no signs will be permitted in order to keep views from being blocked, the school district said.
The district also warned parents and students that there may be “some ambient noise” as other, smaller events that had already been booked will proceed at the venue during graduation.
In statements issued Saturday and Sunday, Natomas Unified thanked students, families and staff for their patience.
“Normally a school would get months to plan for a new venue,” Sunday’s message said. “Our teams at Natomas High and Inderkum, responding to adverse weather, are pulling this together on a few days’ notice.”
Natomas Unified is the only public K-12 district in Sacramento with graduations scheduled for this week. Private schools Jesuit, St. Francis and Christian Brothers, as well as students connected with Horizon Charter School, are holding commencements at the remodeled Memorial Auditorium.