Howard County Times
Howard County

Howard County schools double number of attendees allowed at outdoor in-person graduation ceremonies

Howard County schools Superintendent Michael Martirano announced Tuesday that more family members will be able to attend high school graduation ceremonies this spring.

When the district last month originally planned the outdoor in-person commencements at Merriweather Post Pavilion, the school system was only going to allow two guests on the lawn per student.


Now, each graduate will receive four tickets for family members or friends to attend. Two of the tickets will be in the seated pavilion, while the other two will be on the lawn.

“Our seniors have missed out on so much this year, and I am overjoyed that they will have the opportunity to experience an in-person graduation with family members in attendance,” Martirano said in a news release.


Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, which has a large lawn space behind its covered seating, has a capacity of around 19,000.

Last spring, after the coronavirus first shuttered school buildings, the topic of graduations was an important one for many in the community — especially for parents with seniors in the Class of 2020. The system decided to cancel the in-person events and instead streamed prerecorded ceremonies.

Graduations for the 12 public high schools — as well as Cedar Lane School — will be on a staggered schedule between May 28 and June 4. They will also be streamed online and broadcast on television (Channel 42 on Verizon and Channel 95 on Comcast).

Martirano reiterated Tuesday that social distancing and masks will be mandatory for all students and guests throughout the ceremonies. He also said more details will be released in the coming weeks on specifics for each school’s graduation ceremony.

Here is the 2021 graduation schedule:

  • Cedar Lane School* — 10 a.m. May 28
  • Wilde Lake — 3 p.m. May 28
  • Mt. Hebron — 11 a.m. June 1
  • Oakland Mills — 3 p.m. June 1
  • Atholton — 7 p.m. June 1
  • Marriotts Ridge — 11 a.m. June 2
  • Centennial — 3 p.m. June 2
  • Howard — 7 p.m. June 2
  • Reservoir — 11 a.m. June 3
  • Glenelg — 3 p.m. June 3
  • Long Reach — 7 p.m. June 3
  • Hammond — 11 a.m. June 4
  • River Hill — 3 p.m. June 4

*Cedar Lane School’s graduation will be on school grounds in Fulton, not at Merriweather. Homewood Center students will graduate with their home schools.