Mineral Wells ISD has set graduation plans for the Mineral Wells High School Class of 2020.
Because of social restrictions and closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, school administrators were preparing plans to have private, individual graduation exercises for the class's approximately 212 graduating seniors. They were going to have their diploma presentations individually filmed and placed into a compilation video.
When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently announced Texas school districts on or after June 1 could conduct public graduation ceremonies with restrictions, MWISD officials quickly changed gears and began formulating for a socially distanced, put public graduation exercise.
The event is planned for 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, at Ram Stadium.
Students will be given six tickets for family members. Much of the 7,000-seat stadium will likely be used to provide safe distances between families. People attending will sit in groups on alternating rows, spaced out at least 6 feet apart. Graduating students will also be distanced on the stadium floor.
MWISD Superintendent Dr. John Kuhn said as of Monday 12 seniors opted to have a personal, private graduation ceremony. The first three took place Tuesday.
Speaking of Ram Stadium, Mineral Wells football fans are going to find more parking and an easier walk into the stadium beginning this season.
MWISD trustees Monday unanimously approved an agreement to lease land from the Palo Pinto County Livestock Association on the stadium's west, or home, side to utilize for parking.
The lease will pay PPCLA $10,000 annually, and the association has agreed to use the monies to make improvements to the property used for parking such as creating gravel surfaces. The school district will create a gate from the PPCLA property leading onto the stadium property, and people attending Ram Stadium events will be able to walk in through main west side entrance.
Parking on the stadium's west is limited and reserved, requiring most Mineral Wells fans to park on the east of the stadium in the high school parking lot and then walking around to the west side.
"It's a classic win-win situation," Kuhn said of the agreement with PPCLA.
He said another benefit is it will increase use of the concourse below the west side stands, which essentially are not utilized during games and events.
We envision a situation where we can have kiosks and vendors and make it more like a big-time event," Kuhn said.
Hopes are that the PPCLA will allow traffic to enter and leave through the gates along FM 1821 North to help with traffic. Kuhn said that will have to be discussed with the organization and police.
The lease agreement will require annual renewal.
Apple Corps honors
MWISD honored its two latest Apple Corps award winners – the highest honor given the district's teachers for excellence in the classroom. The April honoree is Mineral Wells Junior High School teacher Deann Jordan while the May award winner is Lamar Elementary School's Margie McGhee.
Dr. Kuhn presented the latest enrollment figures for Mineral Wells ISD showing the district with 3,233 students in May – it's highest May enrollment since 2014-15.
"We are continuing to enroll new students," Kuhn told trustees. "That continues to happen. It has been happening at a pretty good clip for some time. I am really excited about our enrollment."