BG schools will survey parents about graduation
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 09:53
Bowling Green Schools will be conducting a survey of all district parents to learn the preferred day for graduation.
Currently, graduation in tentatively set for Friday, May 30, but a group of coaches and student-athlete parents want it moved to Sunday, June 1.
The move will eliminate the choice some athletes have to make over deciding whether to compete in regional events or attend graduation.
The “tentative” designation is there in the event the district goes over the allowed five calamity days.
“Our request stems for personally witnessing qualifying senior track and field athletes having to grapple with deciding whether to participate in their commencement ceremony or compete at the regional track tournament which is held in Amherst,” said Amy Lanning, reading from a prepared statement.
Regional or state tournaments in softball, baseball and boys tennis are also held that Friday and Saturday, Lanning noted.
“There could also be cases in which a sibling of a graduating senior is competing in the regional or state tournament, putting parents in a situation of deciding which child to watch, or else Mom goes to one event and Dad goes to the other,” she continued.
She has contacted the Stroh Center, where graduation is held, and has learned it is available June 1, with no price difference.
“It’s worth changing the date, at least for students,” said Lanning.
Lanning met with Superintendent Ann McVey is September and was told that administrators had decided to keep graduation on May 30 because changing it might affect graduation party options, present more options for student pranks, may make it more difficult to get graduates not interested in attending commencement to participate, and that band and choir members who perform at graduation are planning on Friday night.
Bowling Green is the only high school in Wood County who holds graduation on a Friday. Two have set their 2014 dates for Sunday, May 25 and one on Saturday, May 31.
Elizabeth Horrigan, who’s son Michael graduated in 2012 when freshman daughter, Maria, competed in the regional track meet, said she had to decide which to attend.
Kristi Krupp, a middle school science teacher and high school track coach, told the board having the student make the decision on whether to compete or attend graduation was “terrible.”
“You’re talking about a small amount of kids, but you’re still talking about kids,” she stated.
The high school Athletic Boosters unanimously supported changing the date.
Tina Robinette, booster treasurer, told the board the vote was unanimous at the Oct. 5 meeting. There were 20 people at that meeting.
“These are two monumental events in their lives. Why make them choose?” Robinette wondered.
She said she has never had a spring athlete, and was unaware of the conflict.
“I really think this is a great opportunity for the board to make this change,” said Duff Maderas, high school track coach. “People will adapt. I really think the Sunday option is ideal.”
Having graduation on Friday “has been a thorn in our sides for years,” he continued.
Eric Myers, who has spent 40 years with Bowling Green Schools, as a teacher, administrator and now school board member, said graduation was moved from Saturday to Friday at parents’ request.
In the 12 years he’s been on the board, the question never arose, he said.
High School Principal Jeff Dever nodded when McVey said he received calls from parents wanting assurance that graduation would remain on Friday night.
The decision comes down to “a personal choice versus a school-sponsored event,” said Rod Lanning.
Myers suggested the board push back making a decision until November.
“There are a lot of folks who don’t even know there is a question about this,” he stated.
The district will survey all parents as to their preference.
“You need to be prepared for the outcome,” warned McVey.
Board member Paul Walker said the decision would not be by a majority vote of parents. The board instead will consider the overall input generated by the survey.
The nature of the survey was not confirmed, but likely will be taken electronically.