Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 20, 2008
By Billy Davis
South Panola High School’s ’08 graduating class received its diplomas at a ceremony that got noisy at times but was more civil than in previous years, principal Dr. Gearl Loden reported after the weekend event.
Loden said 234 graduates participated in the Sunday afternoon ceremony at Tad Smith Coliseum, located on the University of Mississippi campus.
“It’s just a reflection of society today,” he said of the whistling, yelling and catcalls that break out when students’ names are announced and they receive their diplomas.
South Panola forbids the raucous behavior in order to maintain reverence for the event, but noisy friends and family members routinely ignore warnings to remain quiet. The school district Sunday employed Cobra Security to keep order, and Loden reported that no one was tossed out during the ceremony.
The ’07 graduation was interrupted by air horns, which were not used Sunday, the principal also said.
“There was still some noise but compared to previous years, it was pretty quiet,” said a high school teacher who attended the graduation ceremony.
A parent who attended South Panola’s graduation also complained that audience members kept talking when a student led the gathering in prayer.
“That was so disrespectful,” the parent said.
Loden said more than 350 students and guests attended Project Graduation, the school-sponsored all-night party.