PIEDAD: Graduation move benefits outweigh sentiment

NATHAN PIEDAD

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May 29, 2020. The conditioned breeze drifts by the black gowns of this year’s seniors, another generation ready to take a step into real life. There’s wind outside the building, but it’s not the refreshing kind. After all, summer’s beginning and only a fool would sit around under the sun covered with sweat under a layer of dark drapes. The murmurs of thousands of people amid the building give a professional but exciting atmosphere, perhaps roused by the air conditioner wafting abundantly around the room. There’s a variety of emotions painted on the seniors’ faces, including curiosity, anxiety, and…

None of that matters now. The point is: a comfortable end of a chapter starts with a comfortable graduation.

The idea of 107 years of culture and tradition proves to be sentimental for many. Entire generations of families prospered at Roseville, and any change can be complicated. Progress is difficult because it’s in people’s nature to avoid change, no matter the trade-offs made for these sentiments. Hanson Field, the site known for its colorful sports games and dreadful PE activities, is no doubt a memorable site for any who visit.

It’s also known for graduation: the epilogue and holy grail for many, the prime reason why we’re all here in the first place.

The RJUHSD board’s decision of approving the venue change to the Placer County Event Grounds for the graduation last Tuesday was a shot heard by almost no one. Only when the Change.org petition began to gain traction a day later did students ultimately learn about the decision. Even then, it still took more time for the garnered support of parents, staff, alumni, and even teachers outside the district to migrate to the petition.

While one could use this as a message of the rapid spread of information in the modern age, it’s also a message of the ignorant masses. A message that one simple sentimental message could spark a collective voice that somehow transcended any possible arguments or logic. A message that, despite the connotations of graduation from a carefree life of youth to an unpredictable path, these students still choose to hold on to the symbolic remnants surrounding graduation more than their counterparts.

The adults thought differently. Amongst students, staff, and parents, only students are mostly against this change in scenery. This conflicts with the petition, a collected 3,000 signatures willing to sacrifice convenience for a printed paw on turf and possibly a short moment of solace. Clearly, this over-dramatic reaction from students holds more value. After all, it’s us, the students, that are graduating.

Many schools all over the country also don’t share the same practice of graduating in-campus. It’s already an unusual tradition that schools in this district use their own land for the ceremony, and for good reason. In most cases, space is the primary consideration for the venue, and RJUHSD is simply blessed with having the real estate to hold graduation at home.

But nevermind the air conditioner that would be useful in a time like June. The headaches that would be mitigated from not having to look for a parking spot in the very extensive selection of parking at this campus (we all know how popular that is). As long as you get to treasure a place you’ve likely only been to a few times since PE ended after your sophomore year, it’s all worth it, right?

The $50,000 of savings for the district is clearly a laughable value compared to the sight of Hanson Field blinding your eyes as the sun sets under a 100-degree cloud. Parents and guests from the filled bleachers will have quite a view as well—a dust-sized speck of yourself on the stage rather than the high definition close-up of new adults from a convenient television that would have been possible at the new venue.

Those who held onto traditions more than anything had a louder voice. But logic does not need to speak to be correct.