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Graduation: Tradition vs. logic

September 23, 2019

PIEDAD: Graduation move benefits outweigh sentiment

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 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.

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BATEMAN: Graduation move devalues ceremony

For 107 years, Roseville has taken pride in its wonderful and honorable traditions that give the school its character and uniqueness. But this year, after 107 years of being at a school which honors tradition, my graduating class will no longer have the opportunity to walk across Hanson field to receive our diplomas as thousands of alumni have before us.

I, as well as a large proportion of the student body, am incredibly heartbroken and enraged over the series of events that have taken place towards deciding a graduation venue for all  RJUHSD high schools. This entire process has seemed to be only filled without evidence and only emotion – and not just from the students..

The email including the survey was written similar to how a six-year-old would write to their parents in hopes of a puppy, with a clear bias. It felt as though the deal had already been made before the plan was even presented.

Clearly the email’s intent was to convince people to ‘agree’ to the switch, not to receive real, honest answers.

Upon reading the list, I laughed out loud. The pros listed such as saving money and availability of additional tickets were backed by no evidence (such as financial details) or left out alternatives that are available on campus (such as mentioning Patty Baker is available), giving the impression that the bullet points listed were simply fabricated to get people to vote yes.

However, the cons listed were even more disappointing:  it listed only two reasons why the switch has negative impacts – the loss of tradition and loss of connection to campus.

But is that truly all the students would lose? This proves that the district never understood the consequences of their actions from the beginning.

Not only did the pro/con list inadequately represent the proposition, but they did not make an effort to disperse this information to students. While I did the survey, I know many people who are now passionately against the switch had no idea the survey existed.

Had the district actually cared about gauging the public’s opinion, they would have promoted it more, to secure a larger sample size of students than the paltry 4% it received. With this big of a change, that small of a sample, and the severely one-sided nature of the email, it’s hard to understand how the school board used the data to inform their final decision.

While I disagree that the board disrespected student voices, because they did allow multiple students to speak, I don’t believe they were taken into proper consideration. In fact, throughout this entire process, I feel as though student opinion was not taken into consideration at all.

Yes, we are only teenagers and we do occasionally choose emotion over logic. But graduation is ours, and the hard work is ours. Graduation is not a celebration of our parents, the faculty and definitely not the school board’s.

The survey should have focused on students– students, ask your parents if they feel their opinion matters more than yours. Graduation ceremonies are used to honor the hard work put forth towards earning a diploma. Students and faculty are the ones attending school each day to achieve that honor.

After noticing that the survey in no way represented the student body, the board should have disregarded the results and instead listened to the students passionate enough to show up at the meeting. At the school board meeting, there were three voting students on the board, and their votes weren’t considered towards the final decision. Who are the ones impacted? The students, NOT the board members.

One of the topics brought up was the possible safety hazard graduations presents.

While I do agree that some graduations get very hot no lawsuit has come as a result. This shows, while many complain about the heat (or even have health issues), the school has no liability issues and seeing students graduate on the field outweighs comfort. Before using heat as an argument for the change in venues, the board should have opened their minds to the possibility that people care more about their graduate’s happiness than their own comfort. So, it is not surprising that the district has not been sued.

It seems very unfair that less than two months after starting my senior year, this decision will diminish my graduation’s meaning, casting a shadow over the whole celebration.

Throughout my formative years,  I have attended five graduations: friends, cousins, and a sibling- all since I was ten years old. Each year as I get older, the idea of graduation became more real and emergent – I began to see myself walking along the track and across the paw.

Being thrown this curveball so late into my high school career is incredibly demoralizing. Part of the reason I felt excited about being a senior was having the opportunity to celebrate what I had accomplished in my four years on the football field where I put in hours studying and training as an athlete.

I agree with the proposal to at least wait a year before making the change, not only so the board can truly understand the citizens’ (and students’) opinion, but also because the plan currently seems very rushed and incomplete.

There are still many unanswered questions that should have been figured out before any vote was taken.

First, why would any school want to graduate in the morning? Which school will graduate in the morning? How will it affect sober grad night if the plans for that have already been made? Will students be rushed? The list of questions could continue interminably, and the answer to all of them will essentially be the same – the board doesn’t know.

​The district’s behavior surrounding this history should not be tolerated in any such way. In a representative democracy, the board is chosen to make the decisions the citizens, including the student body, wants, not what the board wants. The manner in which it has come to its conclusion is humiliating and shows the younger generations that only the voice of those in power matters, not the individuals.

I am proud of how the community has come together following this shakeup. It is so empowering to see so many people, from historic alumni to five generation Tigers,  teachers, family members, and friends.

Members from schools around the district have all united to support the students and to create such a powerful petition. I can only hope that the  4,300 signatures the petition had received by Friday night are enough to open the minds of the board and make them realize what is right. In the meantime, students should try to rally as much support as they can.

Even if the efforts aren’t successful, sitting at graduation in a random facility with the peace of mind that you did all you could is better than simply giving up.

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