School Explains Change in Ceremony
BY JOHN KRAHNERT III
The principal at Vass-Lakeview Elementary explained Thursday why a change was made to the school's annual ceremony that honors its outgoing fifth-graders.
Some parents of the school's fifth-graders, who will move onto middle school next fall, are upset with the decision to change the school's traditional "graduation" ceremony to a less-formal awards and recognition program.
Principal Donna McClary said that while the program will not have the pomp and ceremony of graduation, the students will receive the same number of items - including a certificate and a book. It is also adding an awards portion to the program.
"They will get everything that's always been done in the past," she said.
McClary said she understood why parents were concerned but that the schools have been encouraged not to use the term "graduation" when referring to elementary and middle-schoolers completing their studies at those schools. Instead, they are to use the term "recognition program."
Dr. Brian Phillips, assistant superintendent for elementary education, explained that the term "graduation" is reserved for the completion of high school, when students receive an actual diploma marking the successful completion of their grade school education.
Every nine weeks, the school has awards assemblies for students in grades K-2 and 3-5. Historically, at the end of the year, the fifth grade's awards presentation has taken place in individual classrooms. This year, it will be combined with the recognition program.
"This year, we're going to do the awards in the recognition ceremony so that everybody can cheer for the perfect attendance and everybody can cheer for the high honor roll kids, rather than just doing it within the classroom," she said, adding it would save parents an extra trip to the school.
Unlike in the past, the number of family members that may attend the program will be limited to two per child. Each fifth-grader will receive two tickets for the event, which must be presented at the door.
McClary said the program will take place in the school's multipurpose room, which has limited capacity. The fire marshal had expressed concerns about allowing too many people in the room for the event in the past, a violation of fire code.
Parents asked McClary why the event couldn't be held outside. She responded that the weather is unpredictable and that the school doesn't have any bleachers.
"To take metal chairs out and sit them on the lawn doesn't work really well," she said. "To ask older people to stand that long - the program is over an hour long."
She said if the lawn area was used, it would limit parking.
The program will take place on June 10 at 10:30 a.m.
Contact John Krahnert III by e-mail at email@example.com.
More like this story