The student voice of Perry High School

Point/Counterpoint: Graduation at ASU

May 23, 2018

Nostalgia aside, Wells Fargo is best option for Gilbert-sized families

Picture this: it’s graduation. The night you have worked the past thirteen years to get to, the moment where your accomplishments of adolescence peak. You show up to the stadium, and parking is obsolete. Your aunts and uncles have to park a mile away, and your elderly great-grandmother has to walk that distance to reach the venue. When your twenty family members arrive, they cannot find any seating, despite showing up two hours early. They split up and find seating, but are squished next to the extended family of the other nine hundred graduates. The ones without your family’s luck — the ones whose parents work until 6:30 and had to rush to make it before the 7 p.m. start time — can find no parking, and when they finally secure a curbside location where they may or may not get towed, there is no seating in sight. At this point, the near-100 degree weather has really gotten to your grandpa, but he forgot to bring water. The mom or dad arriving at 6:45 has to watch the ceremony from a screen in another building. Sounds pretty terrible, no? This is the reality of the past ten years of graduation ceremonies that took place on Perry’s campus.

The Class of 2018 has been a landmark group, and the decision for their graduation ceremony to take place at Arizona State University’s Wells Fargo Arena does not stray from their trailblazing tendency. There was a collective sigh of relief when administration decided to relocate the ceremony by graduates and relatives alike, with a few grumbles and groans by the nostalgic seniors wishing for their final hurrah as Pumas to be at the very school where they spent the last four years.

Sure, it would be poetic to throw our caps on the very field where we watched our football team carry themselves through the state tournament towards their first championship appearance, but at what cost?

Last year, the temperature on May 29 in Gilbert was 100 degrees even. This year’s prediction is at 106, which — despite being a “dry heat” — is far too hot to be sitting outside for two hours packed together like sardines.

Now, there is no worry on how many family members and friends can attend the ceremony, with the max capacity for Wells Fargo well over 10 thousand. Have no fear if your family is as big as mine: the parking options are vast compared to the Flipside lot or corn fields by Perry. On that same note, there is no concern for those of us with relatives aplenty who do not have to fear the tossed around solution that by limiting tickets we could keep the ceremony on-campus.

Graduates, although our last moments as Pumas will not be on the field we know well, the focus of graduation is not so much on where you are, but who you are with. Whether we graduate from John Wrenn, Wells Fargo, or anywhere in between, our focus is far better spent on the excitement of a chapter coming to a close with the most loved people in our lives, no matter where that happens.

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    Moving graduation loses sentiment of seniors’ last hurrah on Perry campus

    Freshman year we stepped onto Perry’s campus as 14-year-olds who didn’t know the lunchroom from the library. We gradually got our feet on the ground, and found our tribes. We joined clubs and tried out for sports teams and auditioned for plays and dance concerts. We became apart of the Perry culture.

    Throughout this time, we have seen three classes graduate. Three years worth of Pumas have walked across the stage set up on the same football field we all congregated at on Friday nights. They secured their diplomas right there on the grass, their final conversations with teachers and friends taking place under the lights of John Wrenn Stadium. Their final moments on Perry’s campus as a student were with a cap on their head and a diploma in their hand. Maybe they drove away with their eyes locked on the road ahead, maybe they cast one last glance in the rearview mirror. Either way, they were offered a few final moments to close this chapter of their lives.

    But that will not be the case for the Class of 2018.

    Our class, the Class of 2018, will be graduating at ASU’s Wells Fargo Arena. Off campus. No longer will we toss our caps up under the same lights we all know so well. No longer will we get to drive away from Perry with our diplomas in hand, the same halls we have walked for four years in the background as a gentle reminder that high school has ended.

    That will be no more.

    Now, we will have a huge arena with half of us sitting on the floor and the other half in the stands. We will sit in a foreign building, with an unfamiliar set up, with colors surrounding us that do not match the crimson and navy we have grown accustomed to.

    Having a big stadium to sit in is a huge bonus that comes with ASU. But there are plenty of solutions that could have been implemented to keep gradation at home. For example, having a ticket policy would keep numbers relatively low so getting seats wouldn’t be complete chaos. The live stream offered in the auditorium and online would give friends and extended family the opportunity to see their student walk across the stage and get their diploma.

    The venue change will be more convenient yes, and those who have aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, cousins, neighbors, and friends coming from all over the country probably breathed a sigh of relief. Now they would all get to sit comfortably while they watched the ceremony.

    But what about the seniors? The ones who the night is supposed to be about? It seems unfair that their night is moved 20 minutes away because a few people want to invite an entire village to watch them.

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