COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Families and scholars of Columbia Public Schools will be attending graduation ceremonies with no COVID-19 restrictions in place for the first time in two years.
Michelle Baumstark with Columbia Public Schools says, "this year, no tickets. no COVID restrictions. come one, come all.
The school district is hosting graduation ceremonies on Friday and Saturday for 1,324 seniors in the 2022 class from the district's four high schools.
This year's graduates will be able to have as many guests as they want to attend.
Battle High School graduate Ahlam Ibrahim says being limited on the number of tickets isn't the same.
"Two tickets or three tickets it doesn't capture the beautifulness of it." Ibrahim says.
Last year's ceremonies were a ticketed event and scholars were only allowed to have six guests attend. Face masks were also required last year, with social distancing protocols in place.
Graduate Aiyanna Williams says she's glad ceremonies are back with no restrictions.
"It means a lot because I know that everyone wants to see me can come and like other people who wouldn't be able to have all their family here can have their family." Williams said.
Douglass graduated 72 scholars Friday at Jesse Hall Auditorium.
Battle High School graduated 347 scholars Friday at Mizzou Arena.
Rock Bridge will graduate 467 scholars on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Mizzou Arena.
Hickman will graduate 438 scholars on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.
Not only are some graduates receiving high school diplomas but in addition 36 Columbia Public School scholars will also receive their associate degree from Moberly Area Community College as part of the district's Early College Program.
In the district's 2022 graduating class, 327 seniors have earned a total of 1, 578 college credits while attending high school through dual credit options.
In the addition to athletics, 72 graduating seniors across 24 different sports have committed to compete at the collegiate level. This includes 19 of the 20 MSHSAA sports Columbia Public Schools offers.