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Crowd locked out of F-V graduation ceremony

Posted June 11, 2008

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— It was unclear Wednesday evening why nearly 100 guests were locked out of Fuquay-Varina High School's graduation at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh.

"Everybody else has their mother and father there, OK? Where's mine?" asked graduate Rachel Yon.

Her mother, Gwen Yon, was among other relatives and friends who said they were kept out of the center's Memorial Auditorium for the ceremony, even though, they said, they had tickets to the event.

"It should not have been a problem," Greg Thomas, a spokesman for the Wake County Public School System, said. "We're looking into why this was a problem."

Each of the school's 413 graduates was allowed a maximum of five tickets, which would bring the number of guests and graduates inside the facility to nearly 2,500.

Progress Energy Center General Manager Jim Lavery, who made the decision to lock the doors, said the facility has a maximum capacity of 2,200 people and that all seats were taken.

He said he ordered the doors locked because Memorial Auditorium was in violation of the city fire code.

"We felt horrible about it, but we couldn't get them in the building," Lavery said.

Thomas said he is not sure the discrepancy between the number of tickets issued and the center's capacity was the reason some ticketholders got locked out.

"We are still trying to determine exactly what did, in fact, happen," Thomas said.

Those with tickets who were locked out said other people who did not have tickets were allowed inside.

"It's wrong. It's unjustifiably wrong," Gwen Yon said. "They need to suffer some kind of ramifications. This is a once in a lifetime thing. We've done paid whatever fees they had to pay. They got their money."

"I was going to make her a graduation scrapbook," said Carleen McMorrow, the mother of a graduate, "but now we can't get in, and I'll never get this back. I'll never get this moment back."

It was unclear if and how people without tickets got inside.

"We're sort of perplexed about that, too," Thomas said.

Lavery said there was minimum staffing by Progress Energy Center employees and that each school is responsible for its graduation ceremony, including the number of tickets distributed to students and who takes those tickets at the door.

242 Comments

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  • NCTeacher4327 Jun 13, 2008

    msdolls926--

    You obviously never helped your child with his or her homework, or else he or she would have never graduated. Proofread.

  • kawbkr Jun 12, 2008

    Guys remember, that these exercises are probably put together by some of the same people that can't get order by number at McDonalds right!!!

  • micah Jun 12, 2008

    hehe...slipped in through an open back door, eh?

  • Adelinthe Jun 12, 2008

    Dataclerk - Forgive me! You didn't say that, psychobabble did and his logic escapes me too.

    Not every right is listed in the Constitution (some are listed in the Bill of Rights too, ever heard of that?). Some things are just common sense and common courtesy, or did those things escape you when growing up?

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • msdolls926 Jun 12, 2008

    THIS IS THE MOST HORRIBLE THING IVE EVER BEEN THREW IT WAS SO HOT OUT YESTERDAY I HAD FRIENDS AND RELITIVE FROM OUT OF STATE THERE AS WELL . I DID MANAGE TO GET IN I HAD TO SNEEK THREW A TO SEE MY CHILD GRADUATE BROKE A HEEL TRING TO RUN TO THE BACK ENTRANCE SOMEONE FOUND OPEN. IF UR READING THIS THANK U SO MUCH. I FELT SO GULITY LEAVEING MY LOVED ONES OUT IN THE HEAT .I HAVE TWO OTHER CHILDREN THAT HAS ATTENDS WCPSS BUT THEY WILL NOT GRADUATE FROM FUQUAY HIGH. TO ALL THE PARENTS THAT MISSED IT MY HEARTS GO OUT TO YOU AND IM STILL CRING JUST KNOW GUYS THIS IS NOT OVER GOD BLESS AND KEEP UR HEADS UP..........

  • Adelinthe Jun 12, 2008

    Dataclerk - "Second, exactly where in the United States Constitution or North Carolina Constitution does the right to attend your child's high school graduation appear?"

    sheesh

    Shouldn't have to be there for heaven's sakes. One's parents attending one's graduation should only be understood as a common courtesy.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Jun 12, 2008

    Tickets given out for 2500 for a facility that can only hold 2200? Who did the math on that? Must be that New Math. ;o)

    Still, one only graduates from High School one time; and it's a shame that the parents of some were locked out.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • pulstar40 Jun 12, 2008

    If everyone had been on time, the doors would have simply been locked sooner. It would have made no difference...some folks were going to miss their child's graduation because the event was overbooked. What is up with 5 tickets per graduate anyway? Make it 4 and everyone would have fit. CHECK the capacity of the venue. My husband saw on one report that a man had flown in for his son's graduation and got locked out, even though he had a ticket. There is no way the high school or WCPSS can make this up to the parents. I feel for the mother who was locked out holding on to her toddler's hand...think about the extra time it took to take the child out of the car seat, etc. etc. It's heart breaking. Think of all the years of helping your child with homework, bringing supplies to the classroom, volunteering for class trips, buying more wrapping paper than a person can use in a lifetime, and then missing the most important moment because the high school messed up.

  • recent graduate Jun 12, 2008

    To add to Dr. Dataclerk's comment, psychobabble is clearly heartless and has no children. If psychobabble actually had kids and cared about them, psychobabble would also want to see his/her kid graduate.

    Also, psychobabble might want to quit being such a stickler about spelling.

  • bluewind Jun 12, 2008

    Somebody (taxpayers!!!) is going to pay for this one!!!!!

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