After many years of having to travel to the Dalton Trade Center for the annual graduation ceremony, Sonoraville High School is giving students and their parents the chance to decide on a change of venue that would see graduation being held at the Sonoraville High School campus, either on the football field or in the gymnasium.
Neighboring high schools Calhoun High and Gordon Central High already hold their graduation ceremonies in-county on their football fields. Concerns about the graduation location, which has been held for many years at the Dalton Trade Center, were voiced at the beginning of the school year, by many seniors who want their graduation held at The Furnace, Sonoraville's football field, which is sporting a new high tech, video score board, also known as a jumbotron.
A survey signed by students shortly after the school year began received 438 signatures from students throughout the high school. This got the process going for discussion on moving the venue from Dalton.
Parents and students alike have complained for years on the drive to Dalton for graduation, sometimes as many as two trips each way on graduation day for both graduation practice and the graduation ceremony. Parents have complained in recent years that, in addition to the drive, the Dalton venue is so large that most attendees view the event on a large screen projector, but say the screen quality is bad. Another complaint has been that Dalton and Whitfield County schools get first choice of graduation dates, so Sonoraville's graduation is always held on a week night, where it is hard for family and friends to leave work and arrive in time for graduation. There are also parking concerns in Dalton, where many attendees end up parking at Dalton College, then having to take a shuttle bus to the Dalton Trade Center.
A letter dated October 3, 2017 was mailed to parents and students last week. The letter includes a timeline of the graduation relocation discussion, as well as a list of pros and cons for both holding the graduation ceremony at the Dalton Trade Center and the campus of Sonoraville High School.
A survey for each parent/guardian and student to fill out, which was included in the mailout, has to be returned to Sonoraville High School by Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, either by mailing it in the self-addressed and postage paid envelope that was included, or by returning the survey in the envelope provided to the SHS Counseling Office. The survey includes the graduation location choices of "Dalton Trade Center," "Sonoraville Campus (stadium or gym)," and "I have no preference." Students and parents who have already filled out the survey stress to others to choose either Dalton Trade Center or the Campus so the most accurate information can be obtained.
According to the letter, the surveys will be reviewed by a committee that includes SHS administrators, faculty, Student Government representatives and staff from the Gordon County Central Office.
Students are hoping a decision will be made before the Christmas Holiday break.