The June 3 setting sun at Dragon Stadium brought relief to more than 7,000 parents, families and friends of the Class of 2011 and served as a fitting ending to a stellar year for the 562 students who received their diplomas. Among cheers, fanfare and personal scoreboard messages, the graduates were able to walk across the stage of their home football field, bringing a close to their K-12 experience as Dragons.
The class earned more than $21 million in scholarships to colleges and universities across the country. They achieved several state championships and national honors throughout their high school career. And these seniors didn’t even seem to mind the 90-degree temperatures as they gathered under the visitor stands of Dragon Stadium to prepare for commencement ceremonies. To learn more about the honor graduates of this senior class, click here.
The home field, outdoor graduation was the fourth of its kind for CISD, but the first with the new video scoreboard in place. School officials said families and friends of the graduates lingered for more than an hour taking pictures, watching the scoreboard messages and enjoying the memories.
Principal Mike Rhodes served as master of ceremonies, with speeches by Valedictorian Hannah Dotson, Salutatorian Kelsey Simmons and a host of class officers. The setting seemed near perfect compared to 100-degree heat indexes that caused the ceremony to be moved indoors at the last minute last year. The Class of 2010 was the first to graduate at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, but this year’s graduating seniors didn’t seem to mind less Cowboy fanfare and more Dragon flare.
CISD began utilizing the outdoor facility with the graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2007. Rain and cold temperatures threatened all week leading up to the 2007 graduation, but the night of the ceremony proved beautiful. The Class of 2008 contended with strong winds at the stadium during their ceremony, and the Class of 2009 had to have their event moved earlier in the day due to faulty light poles that were dismantled the week before the local graduation ceremony.
Still, the newly expanded home stands at Dragon Stadium were at near capacity June 3 and the more casual attire led to a personal and party-like atmosphere. CISD raised nearly $5,000 for the district’s general operating fund by selling personal graduation messages for the video scoreboard. The graduation slides included baby pictures, favorite moments captured in time and personal messages for individual graduates.
In addition, a total of three field cameras captured the special moments of the night including student speeches, presentations of diplomas and crowd shots. Officials said that parents were generally pleased with the ceremony, but some suggested that in the future, the video scoreboard be used to capture the diploma presentations for every graduate so that each family can experience that moment at the ceremony.
Members of the Class of 2011 followed graduation ceremonies with an all-night, drug- and alcohol-free event at Main Event in Grapevine. This Project Graduation party was made possible through parent planning and corporate sponsorships. DVD sales of the 2010 graduation ceremonies also helped fund Project Graduation. Copies of the 2011 Commemorative DVD may be obtained by contacting the CISD Communications & Marketing Department at 817-949-7080.
Members of the Class of 2011 (right) listen to Valedictorian Hannah Dotson share a few parting words before the seniors turned their tassles and became alums of Carroll Senior High. Photo taken by Student Intern Jessica Wieting.