Special to the Gazette/GBT.org Karen Mitchell
New graduation venue decision causes debate
Announcement of ceremony location moving off campus arouses concerns among students and families in district
After weighing the pros and cons, the Roseville Joint Union High School District board members voted to host future graduation ceremonies at an off-campus location known as The Grounds.
Since the decision was publicly released, many students and families have expressed their concerns regarding the change in tradition.
Nick Dominguez, a junior at Roseville High School, serves as the publicity and marketing commissioner for student government on his campus, and is a student representative on the RJUHSD board.
Dominguez started a petition to keep all district high school graduation ceremonies at their respective campuses. The online petition currently has more than 7,000 signatures.
“Graduations should continue to be hosted (at) their respective schools because students deserve to spend their final moments of high school in the place they spent the last four years of their lives,” Dominguez said.
In August, the district sent out a survey to students, parents and staff members to obtain public feedback before making a final decision.
According to the results of the survey, there was general support for the new venue. However, many believe the survey was not an accurate representation of all schools because of a lack of participation.
“We want to show (the school board) how many people are actually strongly opposed to their decision, compared to the insufficient survey that was completed by 4% of students,” Dominguez said. “We have more people who signed the petition than the 2,000 who completed the district survey, regardless of how they voted.”
Brandon Dell’Orto, an Advanced Placement United States history teacher at Granite Bay High School, says the lack of student participation in the survey is because most students did not know the survey existed.
“It is my understanding that many (students) didn’t even know they had the survey in their email … because they just don’t check their email every day,” said Dell’Orto.
Dell’Orto added that another minor reason is that often, people don’t proactively get involved in things until they become a problem.
Now that the hypothetical change has become a reality, many more people are reacting.
Olivia Galvan, the GBHS junior class president, said she strongly believes the graduation ceremonies should be held on campus.
“My brother graduated on the (football) field, and it makes the end of high school (so) much better,” Galvan said. “I feel (that) it is pointless to graduate somewhere that is meaningless to the student body.”
Galvan voiced her opinion through both the district survey and the student-created petition, and she is surprised by the lack of publicity on the subject.
“I filled out the survey about the (new graduation) venue, and I hope they take (the responses) into consideration,” Galvan said. “It shocks me that they ask for feedback but don’t advertise any of the places where students can give feedback.”
Tyler Zavala, a junior in student government at GBHS, said he agrees that the district should have advertised the new graduation venue more before making a decision.
“My second period teacher had a discussion about (the survey), but (even then), few people knew it was sent out,” Zavala said. “I feel like it should have been publicized more.”
The board recently made the final decision to host future graduation ceremonies at The Grounds, a new venue on the site of what was previously known as the Placer County Fairgrounds. The GBHS graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 will be held at 3 p.m., Thursday, May 28, at the new location.
Although the district has never reversed a major decision before, it does not mean it doesn’t have the power to do so.
“I believe that if we show in sheer magnitude how much it means to the whole community (and) how opposed we are to the idea of revoking the tradition of on-campus graduations, then, in faith, the board will act accordingly,” Dominguez said. “They must respond to the demands of their constituents.”