BHS graduation date decided — it’s on Sunday, June 9

Track team members speak out at School Committee meeting

By Josh Bickford
Posted 1/5/24

Graduation is moving back to Sunday.  

Barrington Superintendent of Schools Michael Messore made the announcement at the School Committee meeting on Thursday night, Jan. 4.  

A …

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BHS graduation date decided — it’s on Sunday, June 9

Track team members speak out at School Committee meeting


Graduation is moving back to Sunday. 

Barrington Superintendent of Schools Michael Messore made the announcement at the School Committee meeting on Thursday night, Jan. 4. 

A few minutes into the public comment portion of the meeting, three members of the Barrington High School track team approached the microphone and told committee members that it was not fair that some student-athletes had to choose between attending their own graduation or competing in the New England Track Championship.

The conflict surfaced a couple weeks ago, after Barrington High School Principal Chris Ashley announced that the School Improvement Team had recommended moving the BHS graduation ceremony from Sunday, June 9 to Saturday, June 8. That happened to be the same date as the regional track championship. 

BHS student-athletes Ethan Knight, Ryan Martin and Bobby Wind stood in front of the School Committee members and asked them to reconsider the date change. 

Martin said members of the track team had worked hard for years in order to qualify for the New England Track Championship. He said the BHS outdoor track team is expected to be one of the strongest in years.

Messore, speaking directly to Knight, Martin and Wind, said he had an update to offer regarding the graduation date. He said he received an email from Principal Ashley an hour before the meeting stating that BHS School Improvement Team met earlier that day and unanimously agreed to move the graduation ceremony back to Sunday, June 9. That shift will allow students to compete in the track regionals and also participate in the commencement. 

He said Ashley was going to announce the news in an email on Friday. 


In November, Ashley emailed families of senior students with a survey, asking them if they would prefer to have the commencement on a Sunday or move it to a Saturday. The survey stemmed from feedback from BHS families, he said. 

In mid-December, after the survey results were tallied, Ashley emailed families again, stating that the high school graduation would remain on a Sunday, adding “While many families supported the idea of a change, there were still some families which felt like the change would be disruptive,” he wrote. 

But that message changed a few days later. 

At a School Committee meeting on Thursday night, Dec. 21, Ashley said SIT members had met and discussed the graduation date. He said they felt that the data showed a desire to move the graduation to a Saturday. The SIT recommended moving the commencement one day earlier, to Saturday, June 8, said Ashley. He agreed and announced the change in an email to students’ families.

The response was almost immediate from members of the track team and their parents. 

At the meeting

On Thursday night, Kim Wind, Bobby’s mother, told Committee members she wanted to address how decisions are made, such as the one involving the graduation date change. 

She said the survey that had been shared regarding the graduation date was only distributed to families of seniors. Her son is a junior, she said, but a graduation date change would impact his class and others in the future.

Wind said she wanted to know how the process would take place in the future. She asked if surveys will be shared with families of all students. Wind said she did not want to go through the same process again next year. 

Sara DeBoth, whose son is a senior member of the track team, thanked officials for changing the graduation date back to Sunday. But she agreed that the process was not handled very well. 

In a followup interview, DeBoth said she was pleased with the outcome, but added: “It never should have gotten to this point. They should not be trying to change the date in the middle of the year.”

DeBoth said she was not sure whether the situation would be resolved.

“I didn’t know which way this would go, based on other things in the past,” she said. “I think a lot of parents spoke up and emailed their concerns. Parents of track athletes and parents without track athletes, and a date was presented to them with information about when the New England Championships is, from the Rhode Island Interscholastic League. And I think all of that combined helped.”

“In the end, it’s about the kids. I’m happy, but I’m happy for the kids. Not for myself.”

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