Graduation Changes

Sydney Moraca, Reporter

Snow days are the dream every student. You wake up only to see through your frosted window that your front yard is blanketed in a glistening white blanket. After a long night of pestering Dr. Baker through the district’s Instagram page, you see all of your hard work has finally paid off: school is cancelled. You waste the day away staying warm inside of your house baking cookies, binging Netflix, or even being a dream student and getting ahead of your school work. Now imagine this feeling times four. However, not everyone was ecstatic about the impromptu winter break. Four unexpected days off in January translates directly to less summer vacation and a pushed back graduation.

According to Mrs. Kirk, just as the state requires each public school to reach 180 days of school, the senior class is only required to have 175. Due to the recent trend in heavy snow accumulation during the winter, many school districts have decided to add built-in snow days to their calendar. This would provide a cushion for students and faculty if they need to miss a day of school rather than pushing back the graduation date to meet the required 175 days. Unfortunately, Bellingham School District has not incorporated extra days, and in response to the four snow days, district administration has pushed the last day of the school year from Thursday, June 11th to Wednesday, the 17th of June. This will cut into numerous summer plans, yet at the same time, allowing teachers the time they need to finish working through their curriculum. But this brings about another question: what will happen to senior graduation?

Many are wondering if the senior graduation date will be pushed back four days also, or stay the same. After heavy consideration from Dr. Baker, in collaboration with the school administration board, they have decided to push senior graduation to 7 pm on Friday, June 12th. Although, just like the new date for the end of the school year, there are multiple concerns with this graduation date from the class of 2020.

One of which includes that it will now take place on a weekday instead of a Saturday, as formerly scheduled. This has proved conflict with numerous families with young children who have an abundance of activities and working parents. Not only the date, but the time has been changed to much later in the evening: 7 pm. Some senior families are worried about young children staying up late through the ceremony and older relatives driving in the dark. However, after reaching out to Dr. Baker through email, he reassured students that it will only last 75 minutes. In addition, Dr. Baker said, “We’ll be close to summer when it’s graduation season, and the sun won’t be setting until after 9 p.m. on June 12, which will provide a little more daylight after the ceremony.”

On the other hand, graduation for this year’s seniors is actually earlier than the class of 2019’s. After also being pushed by snow days, the previous graduation date was Saturday, June 15th at 2 pm. Mrs. Kirk pointed out that, “through all of my years working here at Sehome, senior graduation has always been on a Saturday at 2 pm. But it is hard for staff to host the ceremony in the middle of the day, so many are excited for the late graduation.” Since the superintendent of the Bellingham School District attends each graduation, there are three different time slots: Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon. Traditionally, Sehome is assigned Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, with all of the preparation the graduation ceremony requires, in addition to it being in the middle of the day, it is difficult for most staff to attend because they have to clear their day. But now that it is taking place on a Friday evening, staff is much more eager to attend the ceremony.

Although many students and families of Sehome graduates might prefer the traditional Saturday graduation ceremony, Alaina Burrows (12), a graduating senior, noted that, “it doesn’t really make a difference. I think we should be thankful to be the first class graduating outside in the new high school.” Even though graduation is pushed back 6 days in reaction to our 4 snow days, the ceremony will still take place before last year’s, while students enjoyed a break from school to enjoy the snow.

The class of 2020 will be the first seniors to graduate on Sehome’s brand new field. The Ceremony will begin at 7 pm on Friday, June 12th.