SWHS 2017 Graduation

Southwestern’s graduation ceremony will be livestreamed Friday.

Live, from the gym ... it’s graduation!

You don’t have to go through the hassle of finding a parking place and cramming into bleachers in a stuffy gymnasium this year to witness the commencement ceremonies for the two Pulaski County School District high schools.

While they’ll still be opened to the public, both Pulaski County High School and Southwestern High School will livestream their graduation events on YouTube, where you can watch your favorite seniors receive their diplomas from the comfort of your own home.

Dave Perison, microcomputer specialist for Pulaski County Schools, said the word came down from “the bosses” that livestreaming should be an option this year, and he along with tech personnel from Southwestern High School and student volunteers set out to make it a reality.

“Graduation has gotten a lot of attendance in recent years, so much that they can’t fit them all; it’s overflow,” said Perison. “(School leadership) was looking for a way to relieve some of that pressure.”

For those who still want to show up and be close to the action, visitors can go across the hallway from the gymnasium tonight at Pulaski County High School’s commencement and sit in the comfort of the auditorium to watch the ceremony on the screen in there. Southwestern’s graduation will be Friday night at the high school. Both ceremonies begin at 7 p.m.

Or, if you don’t want to leave the house, go to the “Pulaski County Schools” channel on YouTube.com and a livestreaming will be available from your computer or mobile device. You can watch the livestream without having to subscribe to the channel, noted Perison.

However, the number of subscribers to the channel has more than doubled since making the announcement about livestreaming, said Perison, showing it to be a popular decision by the county school district.

“We had some positive reactions on Facebook,” he said. “A lot of people sharing (the information) with other people. We promoted it pretty much strictly via social media, Facebook and Twitter.

Chris Muse, a business and technology teacher at Southwestern, said that preparation for the livestreaming took since near the first of the year.

“We have to start prepping our equipment and making sure we have everything we need,” said Muse. “We also have put together all the equipment and test it, make sure it’s all working, and then train students as well on how to deal with all the equipment.”

Muse said they’ve filmed the ceremony at Southwestern before, though not livestreamed it, but the process of setting up at Pulaski County is all new to them. The help of the students has come in handy.

“I think they have an interest in dealing with technology, but they’re also involved heavily  with our STLP (Student technology Leadership Program) and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) clubs,” said Muse.

Wes Mills, a junior at Southwestern, has been a part of the filming efforts in the past, and is excited to be a part of the new graduation experience offered by Pulaski County Schools.

“It’s actually a lot of fun, whenever things go accordingly,” said Mills with a laugh. “... Getting to video for it it’s a really good experience. I get to watch everybody graduate, which is lots of fun.

“Lots of tears are shed,” he added. “None of mine, though.”

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