Graduation returns to Paul Giel Field


The 151st commencement ceremony for Winona Area Public Schools will look a little more like the first 149 than it did the 150th. 

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced last year’s ceremony to be held in the high school drive-through, the Class of 2021 will be celebrated and recognized at a traditional ceremony to be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 11 at Paul Giel Field. In case of inclement weather, the makeup date is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 12. 

Graduates from both Winona Senior High School and the Winona Area Learning Center are invited to participate in the ceremony. Each graduate received six tickets for family members and friends to attend. 

Those unable to attend can watch on HBC or via a livestream on the district website. 

As the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education have continued to alter their guidance for graduation ceremonies and other gatherings, district administration has changed the protocols in place for graduation. 

Family and friends will now sit in the stands instead of the field at Paul Giel Field. Families are still asked to pod together and distance themselves from other families. Ticket holders will be assigned gates to enter to help with social distancing as much as possible. Masks are no longer required, but they are strongly recommended for anyone who has not been vaccinated, including students 11 and under. Students, parents or family members who have any symptoms of COVID-19 that cannot be contributed to another health condition must stay home. 

Hand sanitizer will be available at all entrances and exits. All graduates and their families will be asked to exit Paul Giel Field 20 minutes after the ceremony ends.