Seniors have spent thousands of hours on Roseville High’s campus. The last four years have been spent in class, playing school sports, joining clubs, attending dances, and going to football games.
When the journey comes to an end, with the senior class walking across a stage to get the diploma that they worked so hard for, they will want to be graduating at their home away from home, Hanson Field.
The football field where seniors attended dozens of Friday night football games, as well as the same field that has hosted decades worth of graduations, is the place to be when a student completes their senior year. Graduating at the school is more than just a location, but it is sentimental to many students.
Many students have seen their older siblings get their diploma on the field, as well as some students seeing pictures of their parents or grandparents graduating on this field. It has seen generations and generations of Tigers.
For years, many people, such as parents and admin, have been pushing for graduation at The Grounds, a large event center down the street. In the fall of 2019, the graduation change to The Grounds was made official by the RJUHSD board by a 3-2 vote, despite the best efforts of vocal students.
Immediately, students began signing a petition to make a change back to the football field, with over 2,500 signatures worth of support. The seniors, as well as many other classes, also took to protests on the field during school.
Ultimately, the class of 2020 graduated on neither Hanson field nor The Grounds.
Their efforts were not in vain. Their protests sparked school spirit in the younger classes, with incoming classes also pushing to maintain the Tiger tradition.
The class of 2021 was able to celebrate on the field, partly due the the inability to be indoors during a rougher time period for COVID. Still, although the primary plan is to graduate on Hanson
Field again this year, there are rumors that it could switch to the Grounds again, and students are speaking out about it. Students want to graduate at a place that means something to them, not just some random building. I want to start and finish my high school career at Roseville.
On the first day of freshman year, our entire class sat in the bleachers of Hanson field, listening to teachers and administrators tell us about how special this school was that we would be attending. We rolled our eyes then, but many of us soon realized the truth in the words that they had spoken to us years before, and we realized that this school was different from other schools. This school is a special place.
This school has become a second home for me. I sometimes spend more time at school than at my own house. It would come full circle to be able to start and finish school at the same place.
The Grounds have no connection to Roseville High. No matter the excess of Tiger decor that fills the building, it won’t replace the pride that comes with the school.
The Grounds may be a more pleasant place to be, air conditioning and possibly an improved sound system will improve the experience for parents and the administration, but this event isn’t about them. We have many reasons to be grateful for the people who drove us to school and kept the school running, but we are the ones who spent four years working hard to graduate.
The wants and needs of the students should come first in this instance. After 720 school days, hundreds and hundreds of assignments, and countless hours devoted to this school, all to graduate somewhere that the majority of students would prefer not to be.
I love the pride and spirit that this school has, and The Grounds cannot compete.
A counterargument to graduation on the field is always the heat. The Grounds is indoors, while the field feels the heat, but if a person can’t handle the temperature, there are other options. Roseville opens up the Patti Baker Theater every year in order for older relatives to watch a livestream of graduation.
The livestream indoors can prevent any overheating issues that can happen to older guests. They can sit in an air conditioned environment, and enjoy the celebration from the comfort of the theater.
The voices of the students should be a priority when it comes to a huge event such as graduation. The majority of students feel the same way. They want to stay at the school, they want to take pictures in Senior Square and on the field.
Administrators should be happy with the school pride that is coming from seniors. This is an issue that students care about and they should be rewarded for their years of hard work.
The Grounds simply can’t hold a candle to Hanson Field.