Back at the arena, at last | News

Elk Grove Unified School District has this week restored its tradition of graduating for its nine high schools on a basketball court.

Nearly 4,500 seniors took to the stage and graduated from the Sacramento Center Golden 1 Center from May 23-25. This is the first time the district has held its ceremonies at the venue since 2019.

“I am very excited to have this done by our children and families,” district superintendent Christopher Hoffman told Citizen during a break between ceremonies. “Last year was a step in the right direction to be back here where we have all the schools and families together.”

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when public health restrictions were imposed on large gatherings, Elk Grove School District officials canceled graduations to be held at the Golden 1 Center. Instead, they conducted the 2020 class graduation events online and had the graduates pick up their diplomas on their campuses.

The following year, the 2021 class was invited to attend face-to-face ceremonies at the Cosumnes Oaks or Monterey Trail football stadiums. At those events, graduates were asked to wear masks and sit on chairs that were three feet away in the field.

During a time of relaxed COVID security requirements for public gatherings, this year’s class was invited to traditional ceremonies in the arena where masks were optional and graduates sat in front of large crowds of friends and family. And, according to tradition, many spectators shouted the names of their children or siblings during the quiet moments of the ceremonies. Before entering the ground floor of the enclosure to take seats, many graduates practiced their poses for video cameras that would display their images on the giant screen of the enclosure.

Citizen attended the May 23 Monterey Trail and Cosumnes Oaks ceremonies for this story.

As a choir rehearsed before the Monterey Trail ceremony began, Associate Student Body President Greg Wilson and student speakers Nina Coriano and Amariyana Washington watched the 6,100-square-foot video board of the arena showing photographs of the class of each graduate.

“I feel like an adult,” Coriano joked. Wilson said his experience at graduation seemed “unreal.” He is now assigned to the University of Hawaii, where he will specialize in biology.

“We’re a very large class, but we know each other,” Wilson told Citizen about his 500 fellow graduates.

Jaimee Nguyen, a Monterey Trail graduate, has the distinction of being the first Elk Grove Unified student representative to be appointed to the district school board. He spent a school year advising administrators and sharing opinions during board meetings. His term ends next month and he now plans to study political science and economics at Yale University.

During the district graduations, he joined the administrators to congratulate the graduates on stage at each ceremony. “I think it’s a great way to raise morale and just show students that we’re making progress, and that’s how we are,” Nguyen told Citizen about holding district ceremonies in a new arena. “I wouldn’t say it’s a return to normalcy, but we’re working together to give students that sense of stability they could expect before the pandemic.”

The Monterey Trail graduation theme was “Conquering Our Difficulties and Struggles.” Its principal, Tara Ricks, listed the dramatic changes that affected class learning in 2022 when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in 2020.

She mentioned changes such as online or “distance learning” and “hybrid” schedules that allowed students to take face-to-face classes a few days a week and then resume online classes at home. Face-to-face learning has been fully restored in the 2021-22 school year.

“Apparently out of nowhere, you’ve been affected by a global pandemic, social unrest, and an educational experience like nothing we’ve witnessed before,” Ricks said.

In March 2020, the pandemic led Elk Grove School District officials to be among the first in California to close their campuses to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Ricks told the Citizen about the resistance of his students.

“There’s nothing this class won’t take on in the future, as they’ve seen everything they could have imagined, whether it’s the pandemic or the different educational experience,” the principal said. “They won and persevered, and that’s the Mustang’s way.”

Monterey Trail teacher and college football coach TJ Ewing spoke to Citizen about the spirit of the 2022 class.

“They went through a lot and in the end came out winners,” he said.

At the Cosumnes Oaks High graduation, a similar theme of overcoming challenges was shared, with the theme “Now, this is our story”.

Cosumnes Oaks director Johnny Jauregui in his speech advised graduates to be like water to adapt to a changing world. “(Water) finds a way to move around barriers, to be like water,” he said. “When your environment changes, adapt to it, be like water.”

Senior class governor Andrea Laine called on her classmates to reflect on what they value in life. She said the pandemic has given them opportunities to learn what matters to them.

“This was a time to reflect on the things we normally took for granted, whether it was going out to eat at a restaurant or going to a friend’s house, or even spending seven long hours at school,” Laine told Cosumnes Oaks class. of 2022.

Her classmate, Lauren Kimura, said in her speech that her classmates came from different backgrounds and had different responsibilities in their lives, but they are all familiar with the loss during the pandemic.

“It takes lessons from our collective experience, sometimes it’s enough to be healthy, sometimes it’s enough to be alive,” he said before the audience applauded.

Back at the arena, at last | News Source link Back at the arena, at last | News

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