Graduation ceremonies to stream live on Web

Published 10:29 pm Thursday, May 21, 2009

For years, the graduating classes of Suffolk’s public high schools have been coming to the School Board asking for a bigger venue for more people to be able to see their graduation.

This year, Suffolk Public Schools has obliged, taking the graduation ceremonies to the largest venue possible: the World Wide Web.

For the first time, the school system will have live streaming of the graduation ceremonies available on the Web site,

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“The students have often asked if can we move to a larger venue because of their extended families and not having enough tickets,” said Bethanne Bradshaw, public information officer for SPS. “Now, technology has gotten to the point where live streaming on the web is something we can do this year.”

Each year, graduating students are given six tickets to share with family members. Four of those tickets are for seats in the school gymnasium to see the graduation in person, and two tickets are for seats in the school auditorium where a live video feed is shown.

This year, that live video footage will be instantly uploaded to the Web site.

“This will be really cool,” Bradshaw said. “We’re really excited, because we have consistently had senior classes want a place for more people to see their graduation. This is a very inexpensive way for more people to see them walk across the stage.”

Bradshaw added that, given the school system’s increasing population of military families, this site will allow mothers, fathers and other family members who are deployed overseas to share in the graduation experience, as well. Additionally, any loved ones who live too far away to travel to Suffolk for the ceremony can log on to watch.

“They can see the graduation just like they were there,” Bradshaw said. “You can see it actually when it happens, and then right after the graduation, you can talk about it. It’s going to be really cool.”

As in previous years, the school system will film each of the graduation ceremonies, and the footage will be played on the school’s Charter Cable access channel, WSPS Channel 6. The system also will sell DVDs of that footage for $10 each.

Then, the school system will upload edited graduation footage to its video library on the system’s Web site,, for viewing following the graduation ceremonies.

“With the technology available, we’re able to put these graduations right on the Internet, which means they’re on demand and it also means we’re reaching millions more people than before,” Bradshaw said. “Anyone can see them if they have an Internet connection.”