Seniors react to conflicting graduation date

The district administration scheduled the Class of 2020's in-person graduation to be during Beach Week – an annual senior tradition in which graduates take a trip to the beach after the conclusion of the school year – prompting many seniors and parents  to urge the district to change the date of the ceremony. After the district was unwilling to do so, a number of seniors expressed their opinions on the conflicting date of the ceremony.

Spencer Goldstein

The district administration scheduled the Class of 2020's in-person graduation to be during Beach Week – an annual senior tradition in which graduates take a trip to the beach after the conclusion of the school year – prompting many seniors and parents to urge the district to change the date of the ceremony. After the district was unwilling to do so, a number of seniors expressed their opinions on the conflicting date of the ceremony.

Spencer Goldstein, Sports Editor

After months of uncertainty regarding the status of a potential in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020, the district announced one for July 8. However, the selection of that date has received backlash from seniors and parents due to its overlapping with “Beach Week,” an annual student-organized tradition in which graduates take a trip to the beach after the conclusion of the school year.

District Superintendent Erik Gundersen has maintained his stance that the date of the ceremony will not be changed, noting that Beach Week is not a school-recognized event. If the date remains unchanged, there will be a number of seniors who do not attend the graduation ceremony.

“I plan on coming back [from the beach] for graduation just because I feel [that] as Class President, I should be there to represent my class whether the majority of the kids can go or not,” Senior Class President Emily Kennedy said. “So I will personally be going back [for graduation], but I know a lot of people will not be going back.”

Beach Week is set to begin on July 4 and end on July 11, meaning graduation is set to take place towards the middle of it. Due to this, those who plan to attend both Beach Week and the graduation ceremony will have to drive to the beach, drive to PV for graduation, drive back to the beach, and then finally drive back home – all over the course of one week. Parents of the Class of 2020 have identified the series of drives as a safety concern, though many seniors see it more so as an unnecessary inconvenience.

“I do think it is a lot for kids to be driving back and forth to [and from] the beach, but I also think that if planned correctly, parents or other people could be picking up kids and bringing them back, even though it is an inconvenience,” Executive Council President and senior Anna Urrea said.

Another effect of the driving is the loss of time that it builds up to be, taking away from beach time that was paid for in advance.

“I think it is definitely a big waste of time, especially since people paid money to go to the beach,” senior Drew Carney said. “People are paying $400-500 to go stay at a beach house for a week [and] are going to lose a day going back and forth.”

However, despite the push for the date of the graduation ceremony to be moved back, many seniors find the in-person ceremony unnecessary to begin with. Along with the in-person ceremony, a graduation parade and a video that includes speeches from Gundersen, Interim Principal John Puccio, the class valedictorian, and the class salutatorian were organized for seniors

“I think the video and the parade are completely fine and I know that a lot of people have treated the video and the parade like the actual graduation,” Urrea said. “I think the in-person [graduation], while I’m happy that [my classmates] have the option [to attend], is making it harder – I just want to move on now. We already got so much taken away [by the coronavirus] and it is hard to just keep thinking about it instead of just moving forward.”

Kennedy noted that she understands “the administration is doing the best it can,” but also that “if the entire grade cannot even go to the ceremony, [there is no] point.”