I see it happen every year – school officials scheduling their graduation ceremonies on the same evening as major sports championships.
This year, for example, a local high school has scheduled its grad on the same Friday evening as the provincial soccer and track championships. Is it done on purpose? I don’t believe so – when the plans are made in the Fall, school athletics are simply not considered.
But it leaves student-athletes with the terrible dilemma of having to decide which event to miss: the culminating event of four years of high school sport; or the culminating academic and social event of four years of high school classes?
I’ve coached several high-school track athletes who have taken extraordinary measures to attend both events. Some have taken early morning flights after their grad ceremony while one made an eight-hour overnight drive. They all arrived just before their morning heats. Predictably, their results were highly compromised.
But why force students to make this decision at all? School officials: while it may not be easy, when choosing grad dates, please consider extracurricular events that might conflict – whether it be sports, chess, band or improv competitions. Instead of the traditional Friday night, consider a Saturday, weekday, or even a Sunday. Don’t restrict dates to those on which school board dignitaries can attend. Remember, grad is for students and parents, and quite frankly, they don’t care two hoots about having a school board official on the stage.
I realize that the teachers who help to organize graduation ceremonies are among the most caring in the school and the time they spend is generally unpaid. But choosing a graduation date that allows every grad to participate must surely be a priority in the planning process.
Dick Moss, Editor,
[tags]high school graduation,sports,physical education,high school sports