Planning 2 high school graduations creates dilemma

District grapples with ceremony dates and times, and effect on Sober Grad

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comOctober 25, 2012 

Pacheco and Los Banos high schools are scrambling to figure out the logistics of holding two possibly competing graduation ceremonies in June.

Pacheco High School, which opened in 2010, is graduating its first senior class in June. The district originally planned for the graduations to take place June 7 with one occurring at 5 p.m. and the other at 8 p.m. Pacheco High Principal Brett Lee, who drew the 5 p.m. ceremony, is nervous about that time slot.

"My concern is how hot is that going to be, how brutal will that be?" Lee said. "I did take the time to call the other districts around from Tracy, Merced Union all the way down to Hanford."

Based on the advice Lee received, he and Los Banos High Principal Ryan Hartsoch came up with four options: Leave the original plan in place; have one school hold its ceremony in the morning and the other at 8 p.m.; have one school graduate June 6 at 8 p.m. and the other on June 7 at the same time; have both sites graduate June 7 at 8 p.m.

Hartsoch said holding graduations on the same day allows the district to have one Sober Graduation event, but unintentional problems can be created by having a morning ceremony.

"The concerns are that adults attending that morning ceremony could be a tough situation, having to take off time from work," Hartsoch said. "The other problem is there's a large gap of time between that morning ceremony and when Sober Grad fires up. It could unfortunately lead to some bad choices, which defeat the purpose of Sober Grad."

Other issues the principals are trying to resolve are avoiding putting a strain on working parents to get to a 5 p.m. graduation and dealing with traffic problems that may occur with people trying to attend both graduations.

Hartsoch and Lee said they are leaning toward holding both graduations at 8 p.m. on the same day. The downside is families with relatives graduating from both high schools would have to choose which ceremony to attend.

The Los Banos Unified School District is expected to make a decision on how to proceed at its November meeting.

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