Sun Prairie High School shifts graduation day after Alliant Energy Center double-books venue

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — Parents in Sun Prairie are upset about the school district shuffling around high school graduation due to a scheduling mix-up at the Alliant Energy Center.

It’s a matter of just one day — graduation has moved from Friday, May 27 to Thursday, May 26 — but for Sun Prairie High School senior Maddie Wirtz-Olsen, the date change means everything. May 26 is now the day of her graduation and sectionals to advance to state in her final track season.

“To then hear that you might have to pick between two things you look forward to, it was saddening and angry and disheartening all at once,” Wirtz-Olsen said.

The district said it looked at other options, but between the Alliant Energy Center’s roof, parking and ample space, it made more sense to stick with the site and just shift the day.

Wirtz-Olsen’s father Scott Wirtz-Olsen said this puts their daughter in an impossible situation.

“Do you go to graduation and skip (the) postseason of your last year as a varsity athlete? That’s not fair to ask. The original date on the calendar avoided all of these conflicts,” he said.

Sun Prairie Area School District Superintendent Brad Saron said the district will make accommodations for anyone competing in the track sectional that night.

The district’s full message to families reads:

Dear Sun Prairie Staff, Students, and Families,

On April 29, 2021, we signed an agreement with the Alliant Energy Center to hold the Sun Prairie High School graduation ceremony on May 27, 2022. We were just informed by the Alliant Energy Center that our graduation date needs to be rescheduled as a result of Brat Fest and the Memorial Day Carnival. This was a double-booking conflict on the part of the Alliant Energy Center.

As a result of this discovery, we investigated other facilities including the Bank of Sun Prairie Stadium, and have determined that Alliant Energy Center still has the best accommodations to meet our needs. To that end, we will have decided to move our ceremony to Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 5:30 p.m.   

The decision to remain at the Alliant Energy Center and to change the date to Thursday, May 26 will allow our families to bring an unlimited number of guests to celebrate their graduate’s accomplishments.  We are excited about the availability of ample parking with shuttles to assist guests with mobility issues, and we will not need to worry about the impact of weather on the event.  (Remember, we experienced a rain delay at last year’s event.) We are hopeful this date change allows families to celebrate your scholar’s wonderful success and accomplishments without competing with plans during the Memorial Day weekend.

As a result of the change in the date of graduation, senior students in good standing will have their last school day on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, at noon. All other SPASD students in grades 5K-11 will have their last day of school on May 26, 2022.

We understand the sectional track meet is also scheduled for May 26, and arrangements will be made for athletes and families that are involved in that activity. 

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. More graduation details will come in the next few months. Please mark your calendar for this date change.

Best Regards,

Renee Coleman, Sun Prairie High School Principal

Brad Saron, Superintendent 

Janet Rosseter, Assistant Superintendent for Operations