Two for one graduation


Jaylen Gladney

2023 Task Force and Associated Student Body (ASB) officers have an emergency meeting in room 904 regarding the graduation location and times. 2023 Task Force Advisor Christina Ada leads the discussion and offers her input on the matter.

On Tuesday Jan. 17, Bonita Vista High (BVH) sent out a Jupiter message announcing the confirmation of this year’s 2023 graduation date. Class of 2023 will be graduating on Thursday June 1 on BVH’s new football stadium, making this class the first in 25 years to do so.

However, BVH announced that there will be two graduation ceremonies instead of one this year. The first will occur at 3:30 p.m. and the second at 5:30 p.m. Students would be able to choose which time they would like to graduate and bring up to six guests. After the message was sent out, BVH principal Lee Romero understands there would be different reactions.

“I found as a principal that every decision you make, you’re going to have people that don’t like it. The only way I believe as a principal to combat that is to give people an opportunity to understand all sides of the issue,” Romero said.

The graduation date was set by the Sweetwater Union High School District to allow the appropriate board members to attend each high school graduation. When it came down to the site, Romero approached the Parent, Teacher and Student Association (PTSA) and the Faculty Advisory Committee with the dilemma. With two options for graduation sites, Romero explained the cost of Southwestern College (SWC) was too expensive and unavailable for June 1.

“Let’s say we have a rich parent and they want to pay for [SWC], they don’t have the dates available, so that was out of the question. When the parents brought it up to me, I said the only option we would have if we wanted to have one big ceremony is to go to Hilltop High (HTH),” Romero said.

The second option would be graduating at HTH, but the PTSA agreed they would not want to graduate at HTH once again due to parking and previous experiences. As a result, the Class of 2023 will have to graduate at two different times. However, Assistant Principal (AP) Jason Josafat highlights the significance of graduating on BVH campus.

“I think it’s big for this class because this class has seen through the construction from the beginning,” Josafat said. “They’re the first class to fully be out of the pandemic and it’s something to be said to graduate on the campus that you started at.”

Unfortunately, BVH was aware of the capacity issue since the beginning of the construction of the football stadium field. Aside from graduation, Romero had to brainstorm solutions to be able to hold the more anticipated football games such as Homecoming and games against rival schools like Otay Ranch High and Eastlake High.

“The issue came up originally because [we didn’t know] how we were going to play our homecoming game. There’s no way we’re all going to fit, so we are still investigating and hoping to get SWC during those three games,” Romero said. “The same issue came up [with graduation] and that’s when we started talking about other options.”

When making the decision for graduation, Romero did not survey the students with their opinions about graduation, which affected a lot of seniors. However, senior Eliza Lindquist notes the difficulty in making decisions regarding notable events, such as graduation.

“I feel like a lot of the time the principal has a lot of people he’s trying to please and usually the first people he tries to please are the teachers and the parents and sometimes the students get left [out],” Lindquist said. “I know that Mr. Romero was making more of an effort, but I feel like they definitely need to have students’ opinions because this is our high school experience.”

I know that Mr. Romero was making more of an effort, but I feel like they definitely need to have students’ opinions because this is our high school experience.”

— Eliza Lindquist

Senior Matthew Lujan shares the same issue with Lindquist, as both have bigger families and are concerned with the number of guests they’re allowed to bring. The six guests students are currently allowed to bring is due to the two different graduation times, according to Josafat.

“For me, it sucks because [we can only bring] six guests and in my family, there’s seven people. I can’t even bring my whole family. If my grandparents want to come, they can’t. I’ll have to figure it out,” Lindquist said.

Romero confirmed students would be able to choose what time they would prefer to graduate with their friends. Despite this, Lujan has concerns due to the large number of people in his friend group.

“I don’t think I can get all my friends [in one ceremony] like that, so I was really worried. I was like, ‘What if we all push for one period?’ but then they’re like, ‘Hey, we can’t get ahold of you’ and that becomes a whole mess after that,” Lujan said. 

Graduation is five months away and Romero along with the administration team continues to discuss the details about graduation to relieve concerns that students might have. For example, Josafat states it is unclear about whether speakers would speak twice or be completely different for each ceremony.

“We meet for our administrative meeting every Monday and graduation right now is a standing agenda item, which means it’s going to be on our agenda until it happens,” Josafat said. 

BVH will continue to send Jupiter messages to update students and parents. Romero intends to send out messages detailing how and when students will be able to choose their preference sometime in February.

“I don’t know [if that’s enough time] because a lot of the planning with family of what you’re gonna do doesn’t start until the month before, especially if you don’t live [together]. It’s really hard to organize everything,” Lujan said.

Despite the mixed reactions from students and teachers, Romero and Josafat encourage the BVH community to look forward to the significance of graduating on BVH campus. 

“If you think about this, it’s a lot of firsts. We thought about making that a big deal and it is going to be a big deal. It’s the first time we get an alumni principal to preside over the graduation, which is really cool for me too. Even when I graduated here, we graduated at SWC because we never had a stadium, so it’s gonna be the first,” Romero said.