Graduation has been moved from the Prince George's Equestrian Center to the Jericho City of Praise Church in Landover due to scheduling conflicts.
The Prince George's Equestrian Center, which has held Blair's graduation for the past five years, failed to reserve the June 2 date for Blair. Instead, Potomac High School was given permission to use the Equestrian Center.
After administrators learned of the problem, they searched during Spring Break for another location and were relieved to find that Jericho City of Praise was available. "The Church is a beautiful facility," said Vice-Principal Linda Wanner, "and it's only twelve minutes away."
Since the Jericho facility can hold 10,000 guests, graduation tickets will not be needed this year. In addition, traffic problems, which have plagued the equestrian center, should be alleviated with Jericho City of Praise's large parking areas.
The regular cost of graduation for the Equestrian Center is $3,000. The Jericho City of Praise has donated the space, allowing Blair to graduate in the facility free of charge. A sizable donation will be given to the church in return.
According to Wanner, Jericho City of Praise appears ideal for graduation. "The sound system is top of the line, there is wonderful seating in the back for teachers, there are great film spots… and it is available."
Although Blair's 2004 graduation next year has been scheduled for the Equestrian Center, Jericho City of Praise may be Blair's future graduation site. "If everything goes well, we'll see," said Wanner.
The decision to move the graduation to a church has sparked heated debates regarding separation of church and state. Blair student "Elizabeth" commented that she, as a student who is not Christian, was offended by the decision and would feel uncomfortable graduating in a church. "I don't want crosses hanging all over the place when I get my diploma," she said. "This is ridiculous."
In fact, there are no crucifixes, crosses or other religious symbols displayed in the church; only stained-glass patterns. When asked for their opinion about the site, most students appear not to be concerned about the conflict and to accept Jericho City of Praise as the location for Blair's graduation ceremony.
Graduation will proceed as planned, on June 2 at 9:30 am.
For more information about the Jericho City of Praise Church, visit their website at http://www.jerichocop.org .
Alan Coleman. Alan Coleman is currently a junior in the CAP program. '04 Baby! He is a writer on <i>Silver Chips Online</i> and a Sports Writer for <i>Silver Chips</i> print. During the winter, Alan wrestles. This season, he had a remarkable 8-6 record (not bad for a … More »