KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tears often flow at high school graduations.

This evening, rain could do the same, and with that in mind, start times for two ceremonies have been moved up. Two large Johnson County high school commencements took place a shade earlier than scheduled in order to dodge the raindrops.

Shawnee Mission School District leaders moved graduation ceremonies up an hour for Shawnee Mission South and Shawnee Mission East in order to stay ahead of forthcoming thunderstorms.

“If we can have it outside, we’d like to because then, everyone can attend,” SMSD spokesperson David A. Smith said.

Smith said district leaders keep their eyes on forecasts and the skies. By keeping these gatherings outdoors, there’s no limit on how many friends and family can attend. If they moved inside, a limit would be placed on seating for each graduate.

“We broadcast our graduations so everyone would be able to watch via YouTube. It’s also recorded so it will be available. We really do prefer to have it outside if we can,” Smith added.

Remaining weather aware in our metro is crucial. FOX4 meteorologist Jacob Lanier said he doesn’t expect the coming storms to intensify until later in the evening, but nighttime outdoor activities could still feel winds picking up before sunset.

“These spring storms, they can come in and the forecast can change pretty quickly. It’s always better to err on the safe side so that people are not put in harm’s way with the damaging winds, the hail, the lightning,” Lanier said.

Other KC-area school districts and families are also keeping their eyes on the radar to determine if rain or storms will damper their ceremonies and celebrations.

Some districts said graduation will take place rain or shine, while another has a backup plan in place, just in case it’s needed. Here are plans shared with FOX4:

Kansas City Public Schools

Kansas City Public Schools said it’s watching the forecast Tuesday, but at this point, graduation ceremonies for Central High School and Lincoln College Prep are expected to take place as scheduled rain or shine.

Central High School

  • Tuesday, 4 p.m.
  • University of Missouri-Kansas City

Lincoln College Prep Academy

  • Tuesday, 7 p.m.
  • University of Missouri-Kansas City

North Kansas City School District

Graduation for Staley High School is inside, so the district isn’t worried about the rain. Families may want to keep an eye on FOX4 and our app to see if they need to leave early for the ceremony to avoid running from the parking lot to the arena in the rain.

Staley High School

  • Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
  • Hy-Vee Arena
  • Livestream (Link goes live at 6 p.m. on May 17)

Shawnee Mission School District

Shawnee Mission School District decided to adjust the time for two graduation ceremonies Tuesday evening, due to the possibility of rain.

The district announced graduation for both Shawnee Mission South and Shawnee Mission East will now happen at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 17.

Shawnee Mission East High School

  • Tuesday, 6 p.m. (Moved up from 7 p.m.)
  • Shawnee Mission School District Stadium, North Location
  • Livestream

Shawnee Mission South

  • Tuesday, 6 p.m. (Moved up from 8 p.m.)
  • Shawnee Mission School District Stadium, South Location
  • Livestream

Two more of this district’s high schools plan their graduation ceremonies for Wednesday evening. Shawnee Mission West’s ceremony will be held at Shawnee Mission District Stadium South, while Shawnee Mission North High School’s commencement will be held in the stadium beside their school.

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