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Booker High graduation ceremony set for June 3, tickets are required

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Booker High graduation 2016-Robarts Arena

HATS OFF TO THE GRADS: New graduates celebrate the traditional way at the 2016 Booker High School graduation ceremony at Robarts Arena.

SARASOTA, May 2, 2017 – For the first time in its history, Booker High School will have limited tickets available to the public for its commencement ceremony. The tickets are free; the event is scheduled for 9 a.m., Saturday, June 3, at Robarts Arena in Sarasota.

The limited availability of graduation tickets is a result of growing interest in the school. Principal Rachel Shelley attributes the growing attention to increased enrollment and graduation rates. Shelley notes that the school has been moving in a positive direction with its new Cambridge University AICE program, revived Law Academy, and popular Career Technical Education and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs.

“In addition to parents, siblings and other relatives of our graduating seniors, there’s a lot of general community interest in the ceremony because of all the exciting opportunities we have to offer,” Shelley said, adding that “the word is getting out, and we are attracting a lot of students.”

Shelley said this year 310 seniors will graduate, the highest number in recent memory. The number includes several juniors who are graduating early, thanks to advanced and rigorous coursework available through the State College of Florida and flexible options to get ahead such as the Sarasota Virtual Academy, which allows students to earn extra credits each year.

In the past the event has not been ticketed. Friends and families have come in large numbers to support their graduates. Booker High also has a history of attendance by other people from the surrounding Newtown community.

“It’s not uncommon to have people show up, even if they don’t know anyone who is graduating,” Shelley said.

Assistant Principal Darby Larkin, who is overseeing the commencement procedures, said the kind of support Booker High receives is remarkable. She echoed Shelley’s remarks that the interest in tickets is a sign of strong community support for the school, although some people may find the limited tickets inconvenient. “It’s a nice ‘problem’ to have,” Larkin said.

Robarts Arena holds about 4,500 people; 4,200 tickets will be distributed. Graduating students will get 10 tickets each. Students needing extra tickets will be able to request them through Larkin’s office.

Community members are eligible to receive two tickets each, free of charge. They can pick them up at the Booker High administration building beginning Monday, May 22.

Entrance into the arena is by ticket only. Attendees should arrive before 9 a.m., at which time the doors will be locked. Tickets are general admission and seating is first come, first served.

Other graduation ceremonies scheduled for traditional public high schools are as follows; anyone with questions should contact the schools directly:

  • North Port High School: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 1, Robarts Arena


  • Suncoast Polytechnical High School: 6 p.m., Friday, June 2, Sarasota Opera House


  • Sarasota High School: 8 p.m., Friday, June 2, Charlie Cleland Stadium at Ihrig Field


  • Venice High School: 8 p.m., Friday, June 2, Powell-Davis Stadium


  • Riverview High School: 3 p.m., Saturday, June 3, Roberts Arena 

  • Pine View School: 2 p.m., Sunday, June 4, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall


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