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Nashvillians upset about having to pay to watch high school graduation ceremony

(FOX 17 News)

Some Nashville families are fired up about some loved ones having to pay to watch their seniors walk across the stage at their high school graduation.

Whites Creek High School gave every student's family 10 tickets for graduation for free, but after those are used up, family members will have to pay.

Metro Schools statement:

"Whites Creek gave each student’s family ten free tickets to attend the school’s graduation ceremony. Families needing more than 10 tickets could purchase more tickets through the school’s fundraiser. Schools use District-approved fundraisers to offset the cost of school functions, as was the case here. Whites Creek required a large venue to accommodate its many graduates and their families."

Patricia Courts, the aunt of a Whites Creek graduate said they have a big family who all likes to celebrate the accomplishment.

"I'm a product of Nashville Public Schools and we celebrate," Courts said. "That is a milestone. So there are a lot of us in our family."

The ceremony was held at TSU and Courts says she was able to see her nephew graduate last night from Whites Creek High School. Others like Fred Matthews, did not have a ticket.

"I was totally surprised when we got to the door that we were asked for $10 for each one of us," Matthews said.

Matthews, the senior pastor of Church of Jesus Christ in North Nashville, tried to attend the ceremony with his family of six people. They were going to show support for one of their members graduating.

"I reached in my wallet to pay it, but then I said no this is exploitation," Matthews said.

"It's not a concert. It's a celebration. To see people have to pay $10 because they didn't have a ticket to see their loved one...very shocking, very upsetting," Courts explained.

Upsetting even for some students, like her nephew.

"He has a whole lot of cousins his age and just knowing that they come to his graduation and have to pay, that's heartbreaking for him. That should not be put on kids."

Pastor Matthews said schools should "cheer them on, not make another buck off them."

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