Manhattan High School 2019 Commencement

Manhattan High School graduates listen in during speeches during the commencement ceremony at Bramlage Coliseum on May 19, 2019.

Manhattan High School is canceling its graduation ceremony, which had been set for Aug. 2, principal Michael Dorst announced Wednesday afternoon.

Dorst said that in conversations with the Riley County Health Department, it became clear that health officials would not be able to increase the limit on public gatherings in time for the August ceremony.

Dorst said he expected between 1,500 and 2,000 people would have attended the ceremony.

Instead, 2020 graduates will have the option of participating in a diploma and cap and gown photo opportunity with district administrators, board of education members and Dorst between noon and 4 p.m. Aug. 2 in the school’s west courtyard.

Graduates also will be able to participate in the 2021 commencement ceremony, scheduled for May 9.

Commencement speakers Will Bannister and Allen Zhang will record their speeches, which will be shared at a later date.

“To the class of 2020, I’m sorry that so much has been taken from you,” Dorst said. “You have handled the past four months with patience, understanding, and poise. You are and will always be an absolute example for all Manhattan High School students.”