District releases possible graduation plans along with modified senior spring activities

At+the+Mountain+View%E2%80%93Los+Altos+District+Board+meeting+on+Monday%2C+March+8%2C+Los+Altos+High+School+Assistant+Principal+Suzanne+Woolfolk+presented+an+update+on+Los+Altos+High+School%E2%80%93specific+senior+spring+activities%2C+as+well+as+possible+graduation+plans.+In+order+to+develop+potential+graduation+plans%2C+a+district-wide+senior+survey+was+sent+out+through+email+on+Wednesday%2C+February+24.

Katrina Arsky

At the Mountain View–Los Altos District Board meeting on Monday, March 8, Los Altos High School Assistant Principal Suzanne Woolfolk presented an update on Los Altos High School–specific senior spring activities, as well as possible graduation plans. In order to develop potential graduation plans, a district-wide senior survey was sent out through email on Wednesday, February 24.

A senior fumbles with his feet, beads of sweat glistening on his forehead and hands quavering. Despite his nerves and the bittersweet tune of “Pomp and Circumstance,” he is riddled with excitement. He is about to complete arguably the most important part of his high school career: graduation.

This nerve-wracking exhilaration on graduation day is a feeling that seemed unlikely for many seniors until the Mountain View–Los Altos District Board meeting on Monday, March 8. At the meeting, Los Altos High School Assistant Principal Suzanne Woolfolk presented an update on Los Altos High School–specific senior spring activities, as well as possible graduation plans.

In order to develop potential graduation plans, a district-wide senior survey was sent out through email on Wednesday, February 24. Over 700 responses from the senior class showed that seniors’ four main priorities for graduation were graduating safely together, allowing in-person spectators to their graduation, graduating on campus to maintain tradition and walking safely across the stage. From these responses, MVLA administration were able to put together three possible graduation plans.

Plan A:

The first plan (Plan A) calls for the entire senior class in one graduation ceremony on-campus with no spectators due to spacial restrictions, hiring a videographer to capture the moment instead so that spectators can view the ceremony live. Seniors will be placed six feet apart, receiving the typical senior graduation gifts along with their diploma cover, class photo and Senior Class Council gifts.

Unlike a typical graduation ceremony, seniors will not be walking across a stage. Rather, they’ll simply stand up when their name is called.

“We will have a processional, ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ will play in the background, cap and gown, makeup done,” Mountain View High School Assistant Principal Jon Robell said. “It gives me goosebumps because we’re excited.”

Plan B:

The second plan (Plan B) divides the senior class into two, calling for two separate ceremonies where seniors will graduate in smaller groups with their families and spectators able to attend.

While this plan allows for each senior to bring up to four guests, it leaves out one of the senior’s main priorities: graduating with as many of their classmates as possible.

“I just want to be with my friends, but it would be nice if my family could be there too,” a senior wrote in the anonymous form.

Seniors also brought up concerns that the setup in Plan B would cause the graduation ceremonies to be more rushed and cause the graduation speeches to lose their authenticity.

The LAHS-specific results of the survey showed a nearly equal divide of 45.5 to 54.5 percent between the two options presented in the survey.

Via MVLA District

Plan C:

A third plan (Plan C) outlined an off-campus graduation that would potentially be held in the Earthquakes Avaya Stadium. This plan would allow for all of the senior class to graduate together as well as accommodate spectators present and spaced out. It also meets mostly the senior’s priorities, but doesn’t provide a traditional on campus graduation.

The decision among the three graduation plans will be decided upon during Senior Class Council meetings and through senior-wide votes, aiming to achieve unity within both schools in the district.

“This is the last chance for us to see all the people we’ve been with for the last four years or more in one place together,” senior Lauren Yih said. “It really means a lot.”

LAHS Specific Senior Spring Activities:

Woolfolk has been working with the administration since January, meeting with and surveying the senior class at both LAHS and MVHS to develop modified traditional senior events, which currently include an alternate senior prom, a senior sunset and a graduation picnic.

The alternative to senior prom is titled “Seniors Under the Stars” — a COVID-friendly event that would occur on Saturday, May 15 — and aims to maintain the formal feel of a senior prom.

LAHS’s senior sunset is slated for sometime during May. More details about the event will be fleshed out in the Senior Class Council meetings, and the senior picnic will still be held in its original “secret location.”

“We are finding funds within the senior class — possibly donation — to increase the number of buses [for the picnic],” Woolfolk said. “Just as sports are travelling, additional buses can be reserved to get us to our location safely.”

The senior Advanced Placement test seat dates scheduled from Tuesday, June 2 to Thursday, June 4, have also been moved to the Administration 2 timeframe in order to accommodate graduation and other related activities.