MORGAN -- For the first time in nearly a century, Morgan High School graduation ceremonies will be held outside the county.
Morgan High student body officers and senior class officers asked the school board for the change of venue because of space limitations.
In the past, each graduate was allowed four tickets for ceremonies held in the auditorium. Tickets are not required for overflow seating in the gym, where ceremonies are projected on a screen.
"They face the difficult decision of selecting those four participants," Superintendent Ken Adams said of graduates.
"Should the tickets go to their parents and siblings? What about grandparents? Graduation should be a family affair. ... Unfortunately, due to the present seating limitations, this family event is disrupted and disjointed."
Class and school officers say 80 percent of this year's 180 seniors voted to move the May 25 ceremony to the Dee Events Center in Ogden.
The Morgan High Community Council, made up of parents and school staff, unanimously agreed.
But school board member Ken Durrant didn't agree and cast the lone dissenting vote.
"It has always been my hope that things in Morgan are better than things in other valleys," said Durrant, a 1966 graduate of Morgan High School.
"Sometimes change is not good. I want the tradition of graduates of Morgan High School graduating at Morgan High School. Tradition is sacred to me. Please let Morgan be Morgan."
Durrant said holding ceremonies at the high school is an unspoken tradition to be compared to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" or engaging in prayer at public gatherings.
"I understand some traditions obviously can't stay. Sometimes tradition has to be broken to accommodate what is reasonable and smart," said board member Neil Carrigan.
"But some are going to howl."
Saying they were not doing away with tradition, just changing it, seniors agreed to keep alive tradition surrounding graduation ceremonies. They agreed to continue to light the "M" on the mountain on graduation night and to bring back the almost defunct tradition of "M" Day.
In the past, students gathered just prior to graduation on "M" Day to whitewash the "M" on the mountain and clean school grounds.
Durrant asked that students report back to the board, providing feedback on how students and community members felt about the venue change.
The board would also like time to investigate using the Trojan Century Center for future graduation ceremonies. The building will not be completed in time for ceremonies this year.
Also, lack of a sound system and protecting artificial turf are issues that must be resolved before the center can serve as a graduation venue, board members agreed.
Class officers estimated that resolving the issues, plus constructing a stage for the event, could cost as much as $28,000.
In comparison, using the Dee Events Center would cost around $4,690. The senior class and Operation Graduation committee have agreed to pay those costs this year.
Board member Bruce Galbraith is glad a larger venue will be used, saying, "It breaks my heart to see family members not be able to come see a graduation."