2019 Commencement Information

Dear Class of 2019 Parents:

On Saturday, June 29, a celebration of many years of hard work and dedication will occur.  The Class of 2019 Commencement will take place at the SUNY Albany SEFCU Arena beginning at 10 a.m. We have a wonderful program planned for the 29th, but there are many details to review beforehand. The program will take approximately two hours.

Please pay close attention to the bulleted items below as each outlines important information that will be the keys to making the graduation experience a success for all.


  • On Commencement day, students should arrive at the site no later than 9:15 a.m.  The doors to the SEFCU Arena open at 9:00 a.m. (NOT BEFORE) for parental seating.  All parking for the SEFCU Arena is in the SEFCU Arena Lot and Dutch Quad Lot (see map enclosed with this letter).  A Parking Pass will need to be displayed on any car parked in the SEFCU parking lot. Red Parking Passes will be included with the tickets in each senior’s graduation packet.
  • SEFCU Arena will be setting up a bag checking station for anyone entering the graduation ceremony.  This is a security measure that the university has put in place.  If you plan on attending, we strongly recommend not bringing in any bags, so that you can more quickly enter the arena.


This school year, we are making a slight change to our seating plan. Stage seating is currently based on the students’ cumulative average. At this point in the school year, all students should know their average.  It will be assumed that any student with a 95.0 or higher cumulative average will be seated on stage.  If your student would like to be seated on the floor instead of the stage, please return the opt-out form to his or her school counselor. 


  • Student rehearsal for the commencement will take place on Monday, June 24th, at 8:30 a.m., in the HIGH SCHOOL EAST GYM and will last approximately one hour.  Any senior planning to attend the commencement program MUST be in attendance at the rehearsal.
  • All Chromebooks, chargers, and books must have been returned and all fines or fees paid prior to a student receiving his/her cap and gown – NO EXCEPTIONS.  Prior to rehearsal on Monday morning, June 24th, there will be a table set up in the high school cafeteria lobby specifically for last minute collections.  Students are encouraged to pay all fines/fees prior to the June 24th rehearsal.  Outstanding materials lists will be posted throughout the building beginning with the examination period.  Students are responsible for checking the list for any financial obligations due to the school.
  • Caps, gowns, tickets, and parking passes will be distributed after rehearsal for each graduate.  If your child forgot to order a cap and gown, please contact jostens.com.  
  • Caps, gowns, and tickets WILL NOT be distributed prior to rehearsal – NO EXCEPTIONS.


  • Six admission tickets are included in each student’s graduation packet.  Packets are picked up at rehearsal. There are rare times when more tickets are needed; we will try to accommodate requests for extra tickets to the best of our ability.  If you would like to request more than six tickets, email your request to lawtonl@guilderlandschools.net.  Please include your student’s full name, the number of extra tickets you are requesting and your name and contact information.
  • Information regarding handicapped parking, admittance and seating is enclosed.
  • The commencement program is a formal exercise to honor not only the graduate, but also the proud parents.  I would encourage you to discuss the importance and formality of this event with your graduate and appropriate corresponding behavior. Behaviors that disrupt the ceremony are unacceptable.  Students will be expected to wear collared shirts and long pants (boys), or dress/skirt/slacks (girls).  Please make every effort to discourage your child from wearing shorts, caps or any other casual attire that would detract from the formality of the event.  Reminder: SEFCU policy does not permit balloons in the auditorium. SEFCU policy permits only service animals in the auditorium.
  • Also, students only have a brief moment to receive their diplomas on stage.  Throwing objects and the disruptive behavior of students who are seated can block camera views and distract from the student who is on stage.  Please speak with your child about the importance of respecting everyone’s graduation and appropriate behavior.


Many activities will take place between now and the end of the school year.  A few key events are bulleted below for your information.  We want our seniors to enjoy the events planned for them and to do so safely.  Therefore, we will be using a passive alcohol sensor prior to the Senior Ball and Graduation.  The passive alcohol sensor is a screening device.  Students who trigger the alcohol sensor will be taken to a private location to discuss with chaperones whether or not they have been drinking.  If necessary, after the recommended wait time, a second test will be administered to eliminate the possibility of a misreading.  If it is determined that the student is under the influence of alcohol, parents will be contacted, and disciplinary consequences will be applied in accordance with the District Code of Conduct.  Please be aware that any student determined to be under the influence of alcohol at the Senior Ball or Graduation will not be allowed to participate in the event.

Unfortunately, some of the other activities that we are often forced to deal with are those activities that seniors choose to orchestrate on their own.  Senior pranks and senior skip days are never condoned by GHS and only serve to create unnecessary disruptions and complications to what should be an enjoyable time of year for all. We are asking you, the parents, to help us avoid any unpleasant complications to your child’s final days here at GHS by reinforcing the message that the GHS Code of Conduct is still in effect and will continue to be enforced right up until your child leaves us.  Senior pranks are not cute and funny; they are destructive and disruptive.  Students who choose to involve themselves in any such activities may relinquish their right to participate in any of the end of the year activities listed.

  • Junior/Senior Awards –  June 5, 6:30 p.m., Auditorium (by invitation)
  • Senior Ball – June 7, 6- 10 p.m., Hall of Springs
  • Board of Education Awards – June 12, 6:30 p.m., Auditorium (by invitation)
  • Senior Picnic – June 17, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Tawasentha Park
  • Graduation Rehearsal – June 24, 8:30 a.m., East Gym
  • Graduation – June 29, 10 a.m., The SEFCU Arena @ SUNY Albany

In closing, I would like to congratulate you and your graduate for the commitment and effort which made this milestone possible.  If you have any questions regarding the commencement process, please call the high school at 861-8591, ext. 1000.


Michael Piscitelli          


Anyone requesting handicapped parking, admittance and/or seating should plan to arrive at the SEFCU Arena no later than 8:45 am on the day of graduation.


  • Special parking is available for those who cannot navigate stairs and/or need wheelchair assistance.
  • Please use the Western Avenue entrance to the University at Albany
  • Take a left on the peripheral road and pass the entrance to the general parking of the SEFCU Arena.
  • Take the next right and proceed to the Cul-de-Sac on the other side of the SEFCU Arena.  A security attendant will direct you to the drop off area and show you where to park.
  • At the drop off area, there is a ramp and walkway leading to the main entrance.

Admittance and Seating

  • The entrance to the SEFCU Arena is on the upper level and guests must navigate the bleachers from the top.
  • There is an elevator for guests who are unable to use the stairs.  There will be GHS staff available if you need assistance.  The elevator will bring you to the floor level where limited special seating will be available.
  • The SEFCU Arena mainly has bleacher seating; however, there are chairs in front of the bleachers for our handicapped guests who cannot sit on bleachers.

Please contact the high school at 518-861-8591, ext. 1000, to arrange for handicapped seating.

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