Tupelo High School will host an in-person graduation ceremony for its Class of 2021 seniors in May, marking a return to pre-pandemic graduation procedures.

THS Principal Art Dobbs shared the news with seniors and parents in a video posted to the school's social media. A letter with additional details was also shared with parents.

"We are heading back to the Bancorpsouth Center for graduation," Dobbs told students. "We look forward to seeing each and every one of the seniors walk across that stage on May 21."

The ceremony will be held at BancorpSouth Arena on Friday, May 21, at 7 p.m. with doors opening to the public at 6 p.m. 

THS will follow evolving Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and advise attendees closer to the graduation date whether face masks will be required, according to the letter.

Admission to the ceremony requires a ticket, and this year's graduating seniors will be allocated eight tickets each.

Plans have been made using BancorpSouth Arena’s current COVID-19 protocol as of March 30, which allows for 50% capacity, or about 4,000 people.

All tickets are general admission and will be distributed at the BancorpSouth Arena ticket office from May 10 through May 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parents or legal guardians on file with THS can present a photo I.D. to pick up their tickets.

Graduation practice will be held Thursday, May 20, at 6 p.m. Seniors will enter from Lot C, the fenced lot off of Franklin St., for practice and graduation.

Parents and guests will use the public parking lots and entrances on the east and west sides of the arena.

"I would like to congratulate you and your senior on this accomplishment, especially given the unusual circumstances under which we have all had to operate for the past year," Dobbs wrote to parents. "Your guidance combined with their hard work has led to this moment of celebration."

The Class of 2021's graduation ceremony will differ significantly from that of THS' Class of 2020.

Last year, instead of crossing the stage at BancorpSouth Arena, the school's 475 seniors walked across a stage at one of five locations throughout the district during 10-minute individual graduation ceremonies with no more than four guests in attendance.

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