Royal Oak High School Graduation: What You Need to Know
Here are details the 384 graduating seniors probably forgot to tell their parents and loved ones about Thursday's ceremony, parking, dress code, All Night Party and more.
The roughly 384 graduating Royal Oak High School seniors are ready to go, but it's likely their parents and guests aren't totally sure about all the details for Thursday's commencement exercises. So here is your 2012 graduation guide:
When and Where
Commencement takes place at 7 p.m. sharp Thursday at the Royal Oak High School football stadium, so seniors are being told to be at school by 6 p.m. After several years at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights and last year at Ultimate Soccer in Pontiac, "This is what parents and students told us they want," school representatives said in a letter sent to seniors' parents. There will be plenty of room for everyone at the football field, school officials promise.
Royal Oak High School stadium
Royal Oak High School is located at 1500 Lexington Blvd. The stadium is on the north side of the school's campus, off Normandy.
In case of inclement weather
Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin will make the determination by Wednesday night whether to move the graduation ceremony inside the building if poor weather conditions are forecast, a very busy Nanci Marek, senior class advisor, said Tuesday.
Each graduating senior will receive 12 tickets for commencement guests. If the ceremony has to be moved inside the 1,600-person capacity gym, only four tickets per student (the blue ones) will honored, Marek said. If needed, grandmas, aunts and uncles would be able to watch a simulcast in the school's auditorium.
There are a variety of ways to approach the high school:
- From the south: Travel Crooks Road north and turn right (east) onto Lexington Boulevard.
- From the north: Travel Crooks Road south and either turn left (east) onto Normandy or Lexington Boulevard.
- From the east: Head west on 13 Mile Road and turn right (north) on Marais; west on 14 Mile to Crooks Road south; or travel Normandy and turn left (south) into the student parking lot near the football field.
- From the west: 14 Mile to Crooks south; 13 Mile to Crooks or Marias north; Normandy past Crooks.
Because students need to arrive by 6 p.m., Marek highly recommends carpooling so families don't have two or more cars on site. "I know it's a long time to be here," Marek said. "But we need to get them all here and in place on time."
There are several lots around the school campus: the parking area at the main (south) entrance and by the gyms (on the west), as well as a large lot to the east of the main building, all accessible from Lexington Boulevard. There is also a large parking lot at the north side of the building and close to the football field.
Community volunteers will be assisting guests by staffing the parking lots. The field on the northwest corner of the high school campus at Normandy and Crooks will be available for parking. This area, as well as a designated special needs parking area, will be accessed from the driveway off of Normandy.
"We could use maybe five or six more people to help with the parking ...," said Jay Dunstan, who is heading up the volunteer effort. "We're going to need people from about 5:15 p.m. until the beginning of commencement at 7 p.m." If you can lend a hand, email Dunstan at email@example.com.
Admission is by ticket only. Twelve tickets for the commencement ceremony are to be distributed to the seniors at today's rehearsal at the high school.
Handicapped/wheelchair accessible seating will be available both at the football field and inside the school, Marek said. There will be a designated parking area to the southwest of the stadium for guests with special needs, Dunstan said.
Cross your fingers the rain holds off. After a mostly sunny day with a high near 67 in Thursday's forecast, it will cool down to around 50 degrees with a good chance of rain for 8 p.m. and later, according to the National Weather Service.
The ROHS Drama Club will be selling cold beverages on the baseball field outfield, just outside the football stadium.
Three students will address their class: senior class officers Dan Dobras and Dominic Valente, as well as Annie Meinberg, who was selected from a pool of applicants.
Meinberg's spot was open to the entire senior class, Marek said. "Students could write a speech and submit it," Marek said. "Then we asked them to come and speak in front of a committee."
Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin will speak on behalf of the administration.
Grad dress etiquette
A cap and gown is required for students to participate in the graduation ceremony.
The graduation cap should be worn flat on the head, parallel to the floor, with tassel on the left side. Apparently, the right side is customary, but Marek said Royal Oak has been using the left side since 1995.
Men generally wear dark trousers, dress shirts with a collar and ties under their gowns. Women generally wear lightweight dresses or a blouse and skirt. Purses are not allowed. Marek advised that anyone who anticipates being chilly during evening wear a sweater UNDER your graduation gown.
Flowers and jewelry should not be attached to the gown.
Flat shoes must be worn by all graduates. This is a requirement.
Students purchased “keeper” gowns. "The gowns are a good quality and may be worn again by a younger brother or sister,” Marek said. So take care to put it in a safe place after the ceremony.
Students who received stoles and cords should wear them. Regalia pins may be worn on cap.
Photos and video
A professional photographer will be there to take photos of students as they receive their diplomas, which will be available for purchase, and WOAK will be there to take video of the ceremony from start to finish.
WOAK can be found on Comcast Channel 19 and WOW Channel 15. If you don't subscribe to these cable stations, the video is also available to purchase.
It is unlikely anyone will get a better shot than the photographer who is on the stage. Remind your student to pause and smile for the camera while receiving his or her diploma.
“Unless you’re shooting with a professional quality camera and a 200 mm lens, you’re better off just buying the photograph of your child receiving his or her diploma,” Royal Oak photographer Gary Quesada said.
Quesada offered a few tips for the casual photographer:
- Do a triangle shoot: Take overall shots that set the theme, such as shots of the crowd and the surroundings. Take mid-range shots that tell the story. For example, candid shots of two grads talking. And take close-up shots that show mood and texture for drama. “A tight shot of a tassel is a nice little detail,” he said.
- Portraits: “Everyone thinks you need to be in the sun when you take a portrait, but the sun is really harsh — too much contrast," Quesada said. "You’re better off moving to the shade or waiting for the sun to go down a bit. Sunset shots are nice.”
Going out to eat?
Graduation starts at 7 p.m., so if you want to treat your grad to dinner before the ceremony, you’ll have to sit down by 4 p.m.-ish to be safe. If you wait until after the ceremony, it might be too late, especially if your child is planning to go to the All Night Party.
A listing of Royal Oak restaurants who are joining the community in celebrating the success of ROHS graduates is listed in the commencement program. These restaurants are offering discounts to graduates and their families through out the coming weekend.
Should you bring a beach ball? No!
Don't even think about disrupting the ceremony with shenanigans. Students who do will not be allowed to receive their diplomas on stage.
All Night Party
Students going to the All Night Party at Joe Dumars Fieldhouse in Shelby Township must meet at the high school at 11 p.m. Buses leave at 11:30 p.m. Students are not allowed to drive to Joe Dumars or be dropped off there.
Best tips for moms
Dress comfortably if the ceremony is outdoors for climbing the bleachers. And throw tissue in your pocket or purse to dab away those inevitable tears of joy.
Best tip for grads
Limit liquids before you head to school and use the restroom before the ceremony. You will not be allowed to get up and move around once the ceremony begins.