Coon Rapids High School to graduate 574 seniors

Coon Rapids High School will graduate some 574 members of the 2012 senior class Sunday.

Commencement ceremonies will take place at Mariucci Arena on the University of Minnesota campus starting at 1 p.m.

Student speakers will be Abby Boyce and Hawi Tilahune, who were chosen by audition.

In selecting Boyce and Tilahune, the judges were looking for speeches that would “speak to the senior class,” according to Principal Dr. Annette Ziegler.

Ziegler and Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 Superintendent Dennis Carlson will make some comments, while District 11 School Board members John Hoffman, Scott Wenzel and Marci Anderson will present diplomas to the graduating seniors.

Kristin Carlson, a student council executive member, will emcee the event, while the Coon Rapids High School Band will play the processional and recessional.

This will be the third year that the school has had its graduation ceremonies at Mariucci Arena.

Prior to that, starting with the first senior class in 1966, commencement had always been at the high school – outside weather permitting.

But in 2010 the decision was made to move graduation ceremonies off-campus to Mariucci Arena because the three prior events had been moved inside the high school fieldhouse because of bad weather and the number of guests that could attend was limited to three.

There are no such restrictions at Mariucci.

Doors will open at noon for general admission with seniors required to arrive at noon for preparation and line-up.

There will be seating in sections 1-7 and 19-24 with wheelchair seating is available at the top of sections 23 and 24.

Seating will be on a first come, first serve basis with no tickets required to enter.

Mariucci Arena is located at 1901 4th St. S.E., Minneapolis with parking available in the 4th Street Ramp, the University Avenue Ramp and lots 37 and 33.

Parking costs, which are set by the University of Minnesota Parking and Transportation Services, vary depending on the event, but range from $4 to $6, according to the Coon Rapids High School graduation newsletter.

To get to Mariucci Arena, take I-35W south to the University Avenue/4th Street exit (18), then turn left at the second set of traffic signals on to University Avenue and head east to the arena and the parking areas.

The evening of graduation the senior all-night party will take place at the Mermaid Event Center in Mounds View.

The theme for the event is “The World’s Not Ending…We’re Just Taking Over!”

There will be food, prizes, entertainment, salon stations, bowling and massages.

Transportation is provided to and from the high school.