The heat is on and so is the Central Regional High School graduation ceremony.
The event gets under way on the football field at 6 p.m. tonight. Today is the last day of school.
Central Regional High School and Middle School are finishing up the year earlier than most school districts in the state. Schools Superintendent Triantafillos "Tom" Parlapanides says there's a reason for that.
June is the most expensive month for air conditioning the two schools, especially the mammoth high school which Parlapanides jokes is the "largest ranch house in Ocean County."
It costs several hundred dollars a day to cool the two school buildings. So district officials decided to trim some vacation breaks during the school year to close earlier, Parlapanides said.
The extra three weeks in June also gives Central Regional High School students an early start on grabbing jobs for the summer, he said.
"My students now have more opportunities for employment since they can start sooner than all other high school students in Ocean County," Parlapanides said.
The traditional week-long spring break was cut to two days and other breaks were also pared, he said.
"The schedule also added more educational days leading up to state-mandated testing, giving our students an advantage," Parlapanides said.
The district will also save on energy costs by cutting back to four 10-hour days during the the week and shutting everything down on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, he said.
Berkeley Patch will have full coverage of the high school graduation ceremony, including a story, photo gallery and the names of the graduates.