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Lee schools ready for two days of graduation

By Staff | May 17, 2008

The end of May marks Lee County’s 2008 graduation season where seniors are finally able to turn the tassel to the left side of the mortarboard cap.

While in the past graduation occurred over a two-week period, the Lee County School Board decided to streamline the process to reduce costs and prevent students from having to wait too long after the end of school to go through the ceremony.

Starting this year, graduation will be over two days the weekend after Memorial Day.

Joe Donzelli, spokesperson for the Lee County School District, said that doing all of the graduations on the same weekend, in a limited number of venues, would save the district over $100,000.

Also, he said, it is easier for families to make plans for the graduation ceremonies when they are all held over one weekend.

“This is allowing families to better plan, if you have families coming from out of town,” said Donzelli. “It will be the same weekend every year from now on.”

The district’s decision to streamline the graduation ceremonies also will bring consistency to the local events. Formerly, it had not been uncommon schools to have ceremonies that vary greatly from others across the county. But now the ceremonies will be more uniform.

“If you go to Mariner, it will run almost the same as Ida S. Baker or Fort Myers,” said Donzelli.

Bishop Verot Catholic High School, a private school in Fort Myers, is kicking off the season today when it graduates more than 179 students from the class of 2008.

Ten of Bishop Verot’s seniors are graduating Summa Cum Laude, meaning they have a grade point average over 4.25. They include Morgan Bergau, Kenneth Caldwell, Anthony Liccini, Sara Lui, Aaron Patzwahl, Danielle Puls, Katherine Rizzo, Kevin Sarlo and Suzanne Zavada.

Dan Jackman, director of communications for the school, reported that the 179 graduating seniors had amassed more than $2.4 million worth of scholarships and 98 percent of the graduating class will be attending a four-year university.

And unfortunately, in Lee County, there will be a number of students who will not be graduating because they failed to pass the retake FCAT exams. Only 18 percent of 777 grade 12 students passed the reading retakes, while 31 percent of 312 seniors passed the math portion.

Some of those students opted to use the SAT or ACT to fulfill graduation requirements, according to the Lee County School District.

The Adult Education students will be kicking off the graduation season for the Lee County School District on May 22 at 7 p.m. in the Fort Myers High School auditorium.

Cape Coral and other high schools will have their graduations on Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1.



n On Saturday, May 31, Mariner High School will start its graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. in the Harborside Event Center.

n On Sunday, June 1, Cape Coral High School will start its graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. in the Harborside Event Center.

n On Sunday, June 1, Ida S. Baker High will start its graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. in the Harborside Event Center.

n On Sunday, June 1, North Fort Myers High School will start its graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. in the Lee Civic Center.

Other Lee County schools also will have their graduations over that weekend.

n On Saturday, May 31, Riverdale High will start its graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. in the Lee Civic Center.

n On Saturday, May 31, South Fort Myers High School will start its graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. in the Alico Arena at FGCU.

n On Saturday, May 31, East Lee County High School will start its graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. in the East Lee County High School auditorium.

n On Saturday, May 31, Tanglewood-Riverside will start its graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. at the school.

n On Saturday, May 31, Dunbar High will start its graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. in the Harborside Event Center.

n On Saturday, May 31, Fort Myers High will start its graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. in the Lee Civic Center.

n On Saturday, May 31, Gateway Charter High School will start its graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. in the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.

n On Sunday, June 1, Estero High School will start its graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. in Germain Arena.

n On Sunday, June 1, Lehigh Senior High will start its graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. in the Lee Civic Center.

n On Sunday, June 1, Cypress Lake High will start its graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. in Germain Arena.