Dismayed at 2009 graduation date

Posted: Friday, September 12, 2008

I am writing this letter to share my extreme dismay about the Juneau-Douglas High School class of 2009 graduation date.

Parents, please be advised that the JDHS administration and staff have specified 7 p.m. on Tuesday night, June 2, (three days prior to the end of the 2008-2009 school year) as the date for your senior's commencement ceremony. This is a distinct deviation from the past nine years in which this ceremony has been held either on a Saturday or a Sunday the weekend following the last day of school.

This weekday night was chosen without public notice or participation, and, when asked at the JDHS Site Council meeting Monday night, Principal Bernie Sorenson stated that she would not revisit her and her staff's decision.

While I understand and respect the many issues that are involved in the equation, including religious considerations and sports teams' travel schedules, I am puzzled as to why the JDHS administration choose to make the Class of 2009, as Sorenson characterized it, "the experiment," particularly as this is the last single class that will graduate in our community.

I understand that the class of 2010 will have three separate commencement ceremonies (JDHS, Thunder Mountain High and Yaakoosgé Daakahídi), and it is also likely, at that point, that the Juneau School Board could become involved in the process. So why change tradition for the Class of 2009 when the whole slate of operations thereafter will need revamping?

Another issue that has not been considered yet is how the Safe Graduation Party 2009 will be handled. Will it be that weekday night? Will seniors be excused from school for the last three days? There are numerous issues to address with having a Tuesday evening ceremony.

Appropriately, it was announced at the Sept. 8 JDHS Site Council meeting that parent/JDHS groups will be established to discuss the date of the class of 2010 commencement ceremony. Even though the site council only plays an advisory role in this matter, I urge you to watch for those announcements and be part of the process. This opportunity was not provided to the parents of the class of 2009.

Robin Paul



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