Post-graduation plans in jeopardy for some Plum High School seniors
Plum High School students hope they can work with administrators to resolve graduation scheduling conflicts.
Senior Isabella Stoll noted that graduation originally was scheduled for June 6 but may be pushed to June 10. That, she said, would impact many district families’ plans.
Multiple seniors joined Stoll at a recent board meeting to plead their case.
Superintendent Brendan Hyland confirmed that administrators project Monday, June 10, as the last day of school — provided there are no further cancellations. That’s the earliest the district could end the school year and still comply with state law that requires students receive 180 days of instruction.
The district’s website, pbsd.net, does not list graduation on its academic calendar.
Stoll acknowledged that the district has had to cancel classes for such reasons as sanitation issues, weather and power outages. The snow make-up days built into the district calendar have been used.
And she said that the district has no choice but to add additional days to the end of the school year.
She said seniors in previous years have not attended classes the last three days of school. Instead, they participated in commencement practice, a senior breakfast and graduation.
But Stoll proposed the district hold the practice and breakfast on one day.
That way, graduation could place Friday, June 7, instead of having it the following week.
Another suggestion was to have graduation take place on Thursday, June 6, its original date, but have additional school days afterward if there’s an issue complying with state law.
Stoll said it’s happened before. She said seniors who do not attend days after graduation would be given unexcused absences like any other school day.
“An estimated 50 students in the senior class have spent extensive time and money on nonrefundable vacation plans, which would be heavily affected with the graduation ceremony being held on June 10,” she said.
Senior Evan Sante is one of the students counting on traveling right after graduation.
“My family’s invested over $10,000 for a graduation trip the following week,” he said. “When we scheduled and made the down payments, this was prior to the beginning of the school year, prior to all the situations and other weather issues that we had. … My family has invested so much money into this trip, that I don’t know if I will be able to walk on graduation, and I know many of my other fellow students might have to reconsider walking on graduation.”
Stoll said a petition on behalf of the senior class would be presented at this month’s board meeting.
Hyland commended the students for coming forward and agreed to have a meeting with them and other administrators to find a solution.
“This is exactly what we want to see from our students,” he said. “The ability to get up and voice their opinion and advocate for themselves. … You’ve been in this district for 13 years and conversation never hurts. There are certain requirements with the state that we have to meet. I think you recognize that.
“On our end, we have to recognize that you also have wants, needs and desires on how you want things to move forward.”
Hyland said via email that administrators were waiting to hear back from students to schedule the meeting, and historically, graduation has been on the last day of school.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .