BHS 2020 graduation date moved to Mother’s Day

Roxie Murphy
Staff Writer

BELLE — While the Belle community prepares for May 5 graduation events, planned in advance to avoid Mother’s Day, the Maries County R-2 Board of Education March 22 reverted the 2020 celebrations back to the second Sunday in May with the approval of the new school calendar. 

“That is Mother’s Day,” said Board President Joey Butler. “Just throwing that out there.”

Director Tom Kinsey said “oh, well.”

“We have had graduation on Mother’s Day for 25 years,” Kinsey said.

Students and staff requested in 2016-17 that the board consider moving graduation away from Mother’s Day. The board continued to accommodate that request into 2018, and Superintendent Dr. Patrick Call’s suggested calendar for the 2019-20 school year proposed May 3  for graduation ceremonies. 

“The board felt that was too early,” Call said of the variance to move graduation back to Mother’s Day.

Butler first questioned the early graduation date at the Feb. 22 board meeting, and Dawn Hicks, board vice president, reminded him that prior to 2018, the event was on Mother’s Day.

“We did it a week early last year, and I just left it,” Call said.

Butler asked if that gives seniors enough time. Belle High School (BHS) Principal Lea Hickerson said she and the teachers would like to see graduation on a later date.

“I think later would be better for several reasons — for the sake of hours, for the kids going on senior trips so we are not scrunching in hours for them,” Hickerson said. “And to give time to process grades and get transcripts ready.”

Butler said he was asking if that was enough time for the kids who were struggling and needed the extra week.

“We had that last year where we needed that buffer for a few of those,” Hickerson agreed.

Kinsey asked why everyone is worried about having graduation on Mother’s Day.

“What woman wouldn’t want to see their child graduate on Mother’s Day?” he asked. “I have never seen a problem with it.”

Butler said he didn’t think the moms cared so much as the potential family coming in, and it disrupts their family’s Mother’s Day.

“Those who really want to come to graduation are going to come to graduation anyway,” Hicks said. “I’d like to have graduation a little later.”

Director Kenda Sanders said she would rather have it at a different time also.

“So we are buddies now, are we?” Hicks asked. “I make a motion to move graduation to the 10.”

The board approved the move from suggested May 3, 2020, to May 10, 2020, with a 6-1 vote, Director Brent Stratman against.

Hicks brought the subject of graduation back to the board’s attention at the March 28 meeting, prior to the approval of the 2019-20 school calendar.

“A couple of people have asked me to move graduation from May 10 to May 17,” Hicks said. “To give the teachers a little more time to finish grades.”

Kinsey didn’t want to revisit the subject.

“I am good leaving it where it is at,” Kinsey said.

Hicks said she thought people were more concerned that it was back on Mother’s Day.

“A couple of people brought it up, and I said we’d bring it up, and we did,” Hicks said.

The board approved the final 2019-20 school calendar with a 7-0 vote.