Clearing up misconceptions about graduation

BVH principal Lee Romero holds meeting to clarify graduation misconceptions


Cielo Muniz Sigala

Bonita Vista High (BVH) principal Lee Romero (left) answered questions while seniors Jechaenna Velazco and Isabella Gutierrez (bottom right) listen to what he has to say. Romero held this meeting on January 31, in BVH gym during lunch.

On Jan. 31, Bonita Vista High (BVH) principal Lee Romero held a voluntary meeting with seniors in the gymnasium during lunch to clear up any confusion regarding graduation and answer any questions students  may have.

The most discussed concern about the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2023 is that students would have two ceremonies at the BVH stadium at two different times in order to accommodate all students and their guests. Romero explains the reason behind this decision, stating that the BVH stadium can only accommodate a certain number of guests.

“One of the biggest misconceptions is the decision to have two graduations on June 1st. We have 520 seniors that are graduating and if every senior is given two [or] three guests, then we can all fit in in the stadium. But that’s not realistic,” Romero said. “Students want to bring brothers, uncles and cousins, so if we give every student six to eight visitors, then we would have to break it up into two ceremonies.”

The two graduation ceremonies were voted on by the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), according to senior Alexa Burow. Burow explains her viewpoint on the situation, expressing her concern about the limit on how many people students can bring.

“Seniors right now aren’t happy about the current graduation we were given because it was voted on by the PTSA. They voted on having two graduation ceremonies here at BVH,” Burow said. “Since we don’t have a lot of room because our bleachers are so small, we’re only permitted to bring [three] guests.”

However, Romero says there are other options available to seniors, such as graduating at Hilltop High (HTH). He held this meeting to address these concerns in person and make sure seniors were aware of the alternatives.

“The main concern is that they don’t believe there’s two different options for graduation. So that’s the reason why I want to meet with students. I want to tell them if the students want to move it to HTH, I can work something out with them,” Romero said. “We could do one ceremony at HTH, and they could probably have their six to eight guests [there].”

“The main concern is that they don’t believe there’s two different options for graduation. So that’s the reason why I want to meet with students.

— BVH principal Lee Romero

Seniors like Burow want to bring more guests while also graduating during one ceremony, so she started a petition for the seniors at BVH to help bring their graduation to Hilltop in order to raise the limit on the number of guests they could bring. 

“I think that [the petition] got a lot of attention because a lot of people started asking me about it and then it was ultimately going around, telling people and asking them if they wanted to sign it. It’s a nice experience for everybody to graduate together as one class,” Burow said. “At HTH, we can bring as many guests as we want because their stadium is so big.”

Burow believes that students should get more opportunities to voice their opinions on events that involve them. In the context of the seniors’ graduation, Burow thinks the situation could’ve been avoided altogether, had students been given the opportunity to give their input.

“I think that it isn’t right that the students don’t get a voice to begin with. If we were able to [share] our voices and let our opinions out, then we wouldn’t be really having this situation right now,” Burow said.

For seniors such as Jessiah Gois, having two graduation ceremonies is a concern. It’d be difficult for students to get the time they want and Gois states that the students would want to graduate at one time. He shares similar views with Burow as he expresses his concerns about graduation.

“I think having it [graduation] at one time is a positive, but it would take longer, so I get why they split it up. My only problem is that everybody’s going to want it at one time and it’s not going to be available for them [extra guests] because it’s first come, first serve,” Gois said.

Senior Isabella Gutierrez attended the meeting in order to clear up some of the questions she had about graduation, as well as some of the questions her peers had.

On January 31, Principal Lee Romero hosts a meeting during lunch for any seniors. He answers questions the students might have concerning about graduation. (Cielo Muniz Sigala) “I wanted to see what Mr. Romero had to say about the graduation and I wanted to see what my other peers had to say about the graduation,” Gutierrez said.

Lots of the questions that were asked were focused on the two ceremonies at BVH and some of the questions Gutierrez asked revolved around how the process for graduation would work.

“I asked, ‘What would the process be for selecting a time? How would that be distributed? When would people [seniors] vote? What would happen if too many people picked a time and how would they fix that?’ I just had some technical questions,” Gutierrez said. “Any questions that were asked, he [Romero] answered and he did his best.”

Like Gutierrez, Burow also showed great appreciation for Romero at the meeting, stating that it’s a step forward as it shows that he cares about what the students want.

“I think it’s good how he’s very active with the students and that he wants to engage with them. I think it’s a good thing to have that connection with the students and hear their voices,” Burow said.

Although not everyone’s wishes can come to fruition, Romero believes that it’s important to incorporate different perspectives and ideas when deciding on important events within the BVH community.

“I think it’s important that student voices, whether it’s a small population or the majority, have an opportunity to voice their opinion because it might change the mind of some people or it might solidify the reasons why decisions were made,” Romero said.