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Parents, Graduates Upset As Methacton Graduation Moves Indoors

Melissa S. Treacy

Thursday, June 12, 2014 • 1:42pm

There was much debate about where, when and how to host the Class of 2014’s graduation day ceremonies. Commencement was voted on by its own graduating class at Methacton High School to get the opinions of its own participants whether it should be held at North Penn High School, locally at their own football field or elsewhere.

The much-debated turf and lights project even suffered further delays as the Board of School Directors felt it best to now have construction going on while graduation was to be held there.

At the end of the day, the lack of cooperation from Mother Nature made it all a rather moot point.

In a May 27 meeting, while recognizing the school board student representatives, Methacton Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe praised the students for taking government action into their own hands to ask for such a voting procedure.

“These students recognize and exercise their participation in the matter,” said Zerbe.

Student representative Wu Vinson explained.

“We created a petition, as the class of 2014, and got about 460 signatures,” said Vinson. “We informed the school board of the senior class’ reasons for moving graduation. In the end, we did move graduation, so I’d consider that a success.”

While there is no talk of having it at North Penn any longer, there is some growing frustration about the district’s decision to take the ceremony into the gym, instead of the outdoor fields. Despite the attempts by students to host their ceremony outside, today’s weather has made that nearly impossible.

A message was sent to parents at 9:41 a.m. June 12 stating that the decision had been made to move the commencement into the gym. A follow-up email was to accompany the phone message, but thus far, parents said they had not seen it.

In the message, the district explained that tonight’s commencement will be held in the gymnasium.

“Tonight’s commencement will be held in the gym at Methacton High School,” said the message. “Procedures for this inside ceremony can be found in an email that accompanied this message as well as on the district’s website.”

On the website, a page dedicated to the procedures explains that a decision was to be made by 4 p.m. on June 12.

“Every attempt will be made, including adjusting the start time,” said the site. Instead, family of the graduate will now be reduced to two tickets instead of the previously promised six. Tickets were distributed at the graduation rehearsal on June 10.

“These kids worked hard and deserve to have their families with them as they celebrate this important milestone,” said one mother, Joanna Ortiz, of a graduating senior. Now with just two tickets, she is forced to tell family they cannot attend, even those that came great distances from out of town. “It is incredibly unfair to these kids and our families.”

Ortiz, along with other parents of graduating seniors, have voiced their concerns to the district via email, Facebook and telephone calls.

“The way [Methacton School District] is handling today’s graduation is a disgrace,” said Ortiz. “These kids deserve so much better, and it is wrong for [MSD] to separate families and not allow these kids the chance to have their loved ones celebrate them as they get their diplomas. Shame on you for ruining this day for so many of our families.”

As of 1:30 p.m., no response to the complaints or LP TAP questions had been received from the school district. The graduation ceremony will be held indoors at the gym, with each graduating student permitted to bring two ticketed guests. Seating is to open at 5 p.m., with a ceremony starting at 6:30 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served in the gym, and no early reserving of seats will be permitted.

Flowers may be purchased or picked up in the library hallway. Unique entrances and seating are designated and dictated by the color of your ticket. All entering the graduation, regardless of age, must have a yellow ticket. For more information on procedures, including a map for parking and drop-offs for tonight, visit the district’s website here.

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