Graduation FAQ

  • This FAQ is meant to provide an overview of our graduation practices for the purpose of advanced planning and preparation on the part of students, families, and guests. Please look over the information below to answer general questions. If you have more specific questions, please contact Harding High School: 651-793-4700

    Important dates:


    Tuesday, April 7th Senior Portfolio Exit Interviews will be held from 6:00-9:00pm. Parents are welcome to attend. 
    Thursday, April 9th  Senior Portfolio Exit Interviews will be held from 6:00-9:00pm. Parents are welcome to attend. 
    Tuesday, April 14th Senior Class Picture will be taken at 8:30am in the gym. 
    Tuesday, May 26th Senior Dinner 6:00pm ($3 until May 18th, $5 May 19-21st, $10 May 22nd & 26th). This event is for seniors ONLY.
    Wednesday, May 27th Athletic Banquet 6:15pm (by invitation only, everyone other than athlete $10)
    Thursday, May 28th Senior Honor Day
    Friday, May 29th Cap and gown distribution day
    Friday, May 29th Senior All-Knight Party 10pm-6am 
    Tuesday, June 2nd Mandatory graduation rehearsal 9:00am at Roy Wilkins (graduates can take bus from Harding for $2 – see Kelly Sandquist to purchase tickets)
    Tuesday, June 2nd Commencement will begin at Roy Wilkins Auditorium 8:00pm (parents and students can take a bus from Harding for $2. Tickets need to be purchased in advance from Kelly Sandquist)

    Where and when will the commencement ceremony take place?

    The 2020 Commencement Ceremonies will be held on Tuesday, June 2nd at 8:00 p.m. at Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
    All seating will be available on a first come, first served basis. Graduates will each be issued 6 tickets. Everyone must have a ticket to attend the ceremony. There is no cost for the tickets.

    Who participates in the commencement ceremony? Is participation mandatory for graduating seniors?

    All seniors who are eligible to take part in the commencement ceremony are encouraged to participate. It should be noted that participation in the commencement ceremony is not mandatory nor a condition for the completion of graduation requirements. Students not participating in the ceremony, can pick up their diploma from their counselor.

    How do students obtain their cap and gown?

    Students order their caps and gowns directly through Schoology. They are distributed during advisory on Friday, May 29th. Seniors who are not cleared to graduate will not receive a cap or gown until all grades in required courses are brought up to an acceptable level and all fines or other school debts are settled. Make sure your student is aware of this policy requiring all obligations to be met before the student will be able to participate in the graduation exercises.

    Is there a dress code for students choosing to participate in the commencement ceremony?

    Commencement is the most formal activity of a student’s high school years and the school district’s public acknowledgement of high school completion. The cap and gown are formal educational attire. With this in mind, we SUGGEST that all seniors choosing to participate in the commencement activity dress appropriately. The attire suggested to be worn under the commencement gown is as follows:


    • Dress slacks
    • Dress socks
    • Dress shoes (no flip-flops)
    • Dress shirt & tie


    • Dress skirt, Dress slacks, or Dresses
    • Dress shoes (no flip-flops)

    Do not bring purses, camera, bags, etc., to the ceremony.

    What is appropriate behavior during the commencement ceremony?

    Commencement is regarded as the most formal of scholastic ceremonies. Seniors are celebrating the completion of 13 years of education. Friends and relatives are coming to honor their achievement. We encourage parents and guests to participate in the ceremony in a very dignified manner. Whispering and other signs of inattentiveness are inappropriate.

    Can I bring whistles, aerosol horns, or other noisemakers to the arena?

    We would also ask that friends and family not bring whistles, aerosol horns, or other noisemakers to the arena. The use of these items distracts from the dignity of the ceremony and is deemed disruptive.

    What is disruptive behavior? How is disruptive behavior dealt with at the graduation ceremony?

    Disruptive behavior is defined as including, but not limited to, loud and abusive verbal language — whether solicited or otherwise — or the unwillingness to respond directly or appropriately to directions. Such conduct could be the basis for removal from the ceremony.

    Is smoking permitted?

    Students and spectators are not permitted to use tobacco products or e-cigarettes on the premises.

    Can I take pictures on the stadium/arena floor?

    We are not able to allow parents to photograph or videotape on the stadium/arena floor during the commencement Ceremony. The event will be videoed and shown on Channel 16 on June 18th, 25th, July 9th and 16th at 9:30am and 4:00pm

    What is the seating situation at the graduation ceremony?

    Be aware there is a graduation ceremony before Harding’s. Guests are urged to be on time for the commencement ceremony and to come early enough to avoid traffic problems. There is limited parking surrounding Roy Wilkins. To avoid costly parking and time constraints, there will be roundtrip bussing available from Harding for $2 per person.

    Is handicap seating available?

    Roy Wilkins Auditorium is handicap accessible. Please send your student to Kelly Sandquist with a note requesting handicap access. With the note, students will exchange grad tickets for handicap accessible tickets.