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Hillsborough High Graduation May Move to Trenton

2014 event may be held at arena to accommodate larger number of grads, relatives.

In 2014, the Hillsborough High School graduation may not be in Hillsborough.

Instead, commencement may be 24 miles away in Trenton at the Sun National Bank Arena.

That’s the recommendation of the school board’s operations committee which had studied the possibility of alternate sites for graduation for two years, board member Greg Gillette said at Monday’s meeting.

In recent years, the school district has been cursed with inclement and extreme weather conditions, Gillette said. But the district could not accommodate moving the ceremony inside because of the size of the graduating class (about 600 students) and the number of relatives and friends, he added.

Gillette said the district explored multiple options to try and keep the graduation at the high school, but moving it to an arena may be the best option.

The auditorium and stage at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg is not large enough to accommodate Hillsborough, Gillette said, and the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway is already booked for years in advance.

The Sun National Bank Arena, at 81 Hamilton Ave. in Trenton, has a capacity of 8,500.

The arena is hosting 13 graduations this year, including Franklin and East Brunswick. On three days, two graduations are scheduled at the arena, with once ceremony during the day and one in the evening.

Though no final vote on moving graduation has been taken and no contract has been signed, Gillette said the cost of having commencement at the arena may be comparable to the cost of having graduation at the high school. The cost of rentals and labor are the primary cost factors of graduation at the high school, he said.

Superintendent of Schools Jorden Schiff said students would be responsible for transportation to the arena, but they would be transported from the arena by Project Graduation buses.

Mark May 21, 2013 at 12:42 PM
So students will drive to the arena and leave their vehicles there. Not a fan of this idea.
sammy May 21, 2013 at 01:13 PM
mark, its not a problem. Been there and done that. Fenced lots are nearby, its directly off the highway, so it is easy off and on, and the comfort level is better for the older parents and grand parents. Change is good.
Lisa May 21, 2013 at 01:16 PM
This needed to be done years ago. I had 2 sons graduate in 2008 and 2009 and to be honest, the whole hassle of having to leave early just to get a parking spot and a seat in the bleachers put a damper on the whole event, which is supposed to be a joyous day for families. My 3rd son will be graduating in 2014 and I couldn't be happier about this decision! Graduating students can travel WITH their families to the arena so they don't have to leave their cars there, they would just have to be picked up at HHS the next morning.
spanishtutor May 21, 2013 at 01:43 PM
At East Brunswick the students either drive themselves or are dropped off by parents at the high school and then bused to the ceremony. Friends and family drive themselves. It's a nice place for the ceremony, everyone gets a seat, and no deciding who gets a ticket or not. With the growing classes in HB something had to be done and this is a good option. I've seen it work very nicely when I was teaching in EB.
AW May 21, 2013 at 01:55 PM
I think its time for a second High School in Hillsborough. 600 is a ridiculous class size.
Golden Knight May 21, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Split the graduating class by alphabet (possible in half or thirds) and hold graduation for each group separate! It is done with other important events and works fine! Graduation at our OWN SCHOOL GROUNDS!
dubious May 28, 2013 at 02:52 AM
It's not only the capacity of the gym that is in question, but the lack of air conditioning that makes it dangerous. We could have had a bigger gym, with air conditioning, but the tax payers voted such things down several times. Whether you agree with those votes or not, this is a consequence of those decisions.

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