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Graduation

Original post made by Resident on Jun 13, 2011

I attended the Foothill graduation ceremony on Friday night and was very disappointed in the behavior of students, faculty and the audience. Isn't a Graduation ceremony supposed to be a positive reflection of accomplishment. Isn't it supposed to be a time for reflection, celebration and inspiration. This was not. There was the constant sound of air horns, people banging pots & pans in our ears. The students were throwing beach balls while the Administration chased them down. The speeches were silly - lacking any worthwhile message for students or attendees. And the worst, was the time and energy spent on stage by students and faculty with their childish banter. Light swords, bumping and fraternity style handshakes...... I hope by the time my children are in high school that the ceremony becomes much less like "a day at the beach" or a viewing of "The Hangover" and more like a formal step into the adult world. Maybe I'm being a bit too serious....but I expected more from the Pleasanton School District and their accomplished student body. From a public view, this did nothing to reflect positively on the school.

Comments (36)

Posted by Affirmed, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I agree with Resident. We were at the Foothill ceremony and many of the people near us just sat and picked at their toes.


Posted by Amador Too, a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 13, 2011 at 8:43 pm

The scene was not much better at Amador some of the teachers were acting very immature.


Posted by Blossom, a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Jun 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm

[Post removed because it was off topic]


Posted by Julie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Julie is a registered user.

I was at the Amador graduation and thought it was fine. I missed the teacher's "immature" behaviour. What were they doing?

It was noisier than I expected (we also had air horns, cow bells, etc.) but it didn't detract from the ceremony for me. A foot ball field and bleachers are not exactly a formal setting and I think people respond in a relaxed manner because it's a relaxed venue. I graduated at Moscone Center years ago and it was indeed quieter.

Personally, I don't consider a high school graduation a formal step into the adult world. That "step" is actually a long series of steps; a process. These were teenagers responding to a happy excited time with their youthful exuberance. They aren't truly adults yet - there is plenty of time for controlling themselves from throwing beach balls, etc. Come to think of it, I've seen beach balls tossed around at "adult events"...

As far as the teachers. I don't condone "immature" behaviour, but if they are simply connecting with the population they work with, then good for them. I prefer that to the complaints from my kids that the adults at school are "mean" and act like they hate teenagers (why work in a high school then?).

The speeches...well, I found it "interesting" that those quoted included Charlie Sheen and...Dumbledore...but again, these young people are a product of their social culture same as the rest of us. They were speeches written by young people. I thought they were humourous. What inspires one person, does not necessarily inspire another.

Congratulations to all the graduates!


Posted by jt, a resident of Ironwood
on Jun 14, 2011 at 8:40 am

Well said Julie!! I can only speak for the AVHS ceremony and from talking with many of the graduates I know that they had a great time. THEY are who this was about, not the audience. Life, at all stages, is a celebration! I am glad they celebrated they way they wanted too!

Congratulations to each and every one of them!


Posted by Jon, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 14, 2011 at 8:52 am

They were excited and having fun. I do agree on one thing you said and that is that you are being too serious!

Lord forbid that these kids have some fun at their graduation. I can't believe that you even posted something about this. Get a life!

On the one of the biggest days of their lives they had to sit through a three hour graduation with excitement pumping through their bodies, waiting for it to all be over and go celebrate. If you did not have a kid graduate then you could have left. I do not remember the gates being locked.

Still in shock that this was a problem for anyone, I laughed and had fun. If I have to be there for 3 hours I better get entertained.

How can you even comment on the speeches? They worked hard on them and they were very good. The messages in there were relevant to the graduating class, sorry if they did not impress you.

I know let's have a redo because the person who did not even have a kid graduate and is too scared to use their name was not impressed with anything! Boohoo!

I got two kids still to go through there and I am proud of the faculty and the kids. I hope my next grad night is just as good as the last one!

Congrats grads!


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:02 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

I was at the Foothill graduation as well, and I agree that the speeches from students and faculty were dry and un-inspirational. However, the goofball behavior of the students (beach balls, choreographed handshakes, helicopters, etc.) was the only thing that kept the proceedings interesting. Sitting in the freezing cold, listening to 600+ names drone by, would have been sleep-inducing if there weren't some side activities going on.

And since when is high school graduation a "formal step into the adult world"? For 90% of these kids, it's merely a stepping stone into college, which effectively defers "the adult world" for at least four years. It's the MINIMUM expectation, it isn't an "accomplishment".

Put it this way, how many kids didn't graduate? If you're part of the 99% majority, that isn't accomplishing anything. You're simply clearing one of the lowest hurdles in life.


Posted by Member, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:21 am

I was at the Amador graduation. I didn't see anything that I thought was innappropriate.
It's a celebration for the kids (young adults) who are graduating. It should be upbeat, and it was. It wasn't as solemn as some graduations might be, but it is and should be a happy time. I thought that the Amador ceremony had a good combination of being solemn and formal at times, and being a party-like celebration at other times.
It's a party and a celebration, not a funeral, and not a church service.


Posted by fun, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:21 am

Every graduation, including my own, has had beach balls or parents and guests blowin air horns. I attended a graduation in Walnut Creek and the same thing happened. I graduated back in the 80's and there has been no change in what happens at a graduation. Well the speeches were better back then but everything else has remained the same. Let's just congratulat the graduations for the hard work and ignore all the other stuff. Trust me when your kids grow up and graduate, things will be the same.


Posted by Michele, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:24 am

If you don't want that kind of behavior you better move from Pleasanton. It's only getting worse each year. I was VERY dissapointed in my childrens education at FHS.


Posted by Lynn, a resident of Dublin
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:41 am

I attended the Dublin High School Graduation at the Alameda County Fairgrounds where my daughter graduated. And I am proud to say our ceremony was filled with tradition, and a very inspirational speech by the class valedictorian who's attending Harvard this fall. This gorgeous young lady addressed her peers and the audience and reminded us that life and friendship must always be treasured. The administration at DHS is strict and held a beautiful commencement ceremony for the class of 2011. There were a few air horns in the audience, but by and large the ampitheater was filled with joy and the kids experienced a wonderful evening!


Posted by a non texter, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:48 am

I wonder how many people went and just sat there texting without even paying attention to the ceremony? at times, I would like to just take away their damn phones and let them suffer.


Posted by Doozi, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 14, 2011 at 10:04 am

Really, that's what you're going to complain about?? Graduating students, their parents & faculty having fun and celebrating at THEIR graduation ceremony??!! Really?? It's for THEM, not for you! They should be permitted to have fun, relax, and make the ceremony as enjoyable as they can. It was long, it was cold, but at least the enthusiasm of the class made it fun to watch!! It's not a church service! Really, why don't you focus your negativity elsewhere. If you want solemn, go to a funeral.


Posted by Blossom, a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Jun 14, 2011 at 10:19 am

I still think probably the teachers union had something to do with all that cavorting and frollicking.


Posted by Alice, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm

My son graduated from Amador on Friday night. I can honestly say that I thought that the Salutorian's speech was the weirdest speech I had ever heard. I was pretty surprised that she was quoting or referencing Charlie Sheen too. I didn't think there was anything of real value that she said. Just my opinion.


Posted by reasonable, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm

To the poster who didn't think the kids' speeches were all that great.... keep in mind that the speakers were not chosen for their speaking ability, they were chosen for their grades. These are kids who likely burned the midnight oil studying and working for A's rather than socializing. They may have been terrified of giving a speech and might not be as "smooth" as some of the more social kids on campus. While they most certainly deserve the honor of giving a graduation speech, I know that back at my own graduation there were also a couple of wonderful speeches by kids selected for other things-- citizenship awards, inspirational awards, etc -- who were NOT valedictorians, but were much better speakers. Just a thought.


Posted by Parent of FH graduate, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jun 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I was attending the FH ceremony and thought it was light hearted yet inspirational in the sense that these kids could finally relax and enjoy what they set out to accomplish.. graduate from HS.The FH class of 2011 set a new standard, I have attending a few HS graduations in the past few years and this is the only one so far that has kept me entertained.

Not sure if any of you have seen a college ceremony but just to let you know it is even worse, kids in no shirts, still drunk from the evening festivities so people who are complaining just enjoy the moment or let these people enjoy their moment it is about them and not you, i'm sure they could care less what you think of them and maybe next time you are invited to attend maybe just pony up your tickets for someone who would appreciate attending.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm

To the original poster:

You are embarrassing yourself. The way you think high school graduations should go is old and outdated. There are so many things wrong with your comment that I don't know where to start. If you think high school graduations should be all serious and boring (which you do) then you are a very lame individual and I feel sorry for you. You clearly did not grow up in a fun environment.

And guess what? If you didn't like the graduation ceremony, you could have left! No one was stopping you from leaving the ceremony. It's not like you had to stay until the very end.

You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. I actually feel bad for your children because they have such a boring and serious parent. I wouldn't be surprised if you end up homeschooling your kids because you sound that ignorant.

If you weren't aware the students were able to pick their favorite teachers to hand them their diplomas so "bumping and fraternity-style handshakes" are inevitable. If you're sitting there worrying about how students say their final goodbye to their favorite teacher, then your priorities are messed up. Someone with their priorities so far out of whack doesn't even deserve to live in Pleasanton.

Now, I'm going to take a wild guess and say that you're one of those helicopter parents that ruins all the activites for the other children. You claim the activity is "too dangerous" or "too fun".

As for the speeches, the salutorian and the valedictorian did a great job. They were trying to relate to the students when they mentioned The Hangover and the book about Greek Gods that we all read. Sorry that they didn't mention Murder She Wrote or some other thing that you would understand.

You need to either:
1. Take a chill pill.
2. Take a LOT of deep breaths.
3. Lighten up.
4. Move to a different city with private schools where the ceremonies are boring so you could stop complaining.
5. All of the above.

That guy Jon has a great point as does the Parent of Two.


Posted by Amber, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Relax, fellow Pleasanton parents! Way too much is being made of graduating from high school. It is just one of many stepping stones of life. My son graduated from Amador on Friday. Besides being incredibly COLD (not PUSD's fault), I thought it was a nice evening. The seniors, for the most part, behaved just fine. Frankly, I thought many of the parents were a bit out of line, but even with that, it was a happy occasion. What needs to STOP right now is any derogatory remarks about ANY of the student speakers - either at Foothill or Amador. These are young adults who did incredibly well in school (academic or leadership) and deserve any of the attention they receive. Most of them are not public speakers and do not like doing it. Please do not make negative comments about their speeches. Let's see you get up in front of thousands and make a speech! Great job kids!


Posted by Claudette , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Most agree as I do, who sat in the audience, that High School Grad. is not intended to be all that straight laced and serious. It is a time to say whew! Got through it so lets' celebrate the next real step into adulthood, college or vocational school and create a career. It's just about your last time to be silly with beach balls and bumping shoulders and laughter with friends and teachers. There is more than enough time to get ultra serious ~ Graduation is a joyous occasion. So much pressure is put on our young adults today as it is, relax.


Posted by MARY, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Well, the Village High School Graduation was awesome. And the speeches were well done. The teachers and staff were wonderful... And one student earned FOUR scholarships to go to College!

Village HS is THE BEST KEPT SECRET IN PLEASANTON!


Posted by debi, a resident of Verona
on Jun 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Lighten up, for heaven's sake


Posted by When, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm

I can see both sides. However, I cannot help but wonder WHEN, if not at a graduation, when do youth USE manners, demeanor, dress.
I wonder if any ever do any personal reflection.
So many parents are not ready to be examples of worthy adults themselves, coupled with trash-talk TV, rappers, etc. etc. We better get this country straightened out, because, from what I've seen,I really don't have much faith in the future.


Posted by Julie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Julie is a registered user.

"When", I think parents in every generation worry about the same things as you. For example, we tend to think of the 50's as being so "clean cut" or as being a "simpler time", and yet those parents were stressing out about this newcomer "Elvis" who had the gall to shake his hips in a sexy manner. I'm sure that was the beginning of the end....


Posted by Julie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Julie is a registered user.

Oh, and no, I don't think too many teenagers engage in "personal reflection". I'm sure some do, but as a group, that's not where they're at. In all fairness, many adults don't do it.


Posted by Amazon, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 14, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I went to the FHS graduation and was absolutely blown away by the young woman who is Pleasanton's teen poet laurete. Incredible context/message and delivery. Was so professional, motivating and impressive as it was the level of a one man/woman show on Broadway. The original poster must have been checked out when these incredible woman was presenting. Because her presence, delivery and message held all of the audience captive with her words. Well, obviously all of the audience - except for one.


Posted by Recent Graduate, a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2011 at 11:14 pm

I have graduated from high school, college and graduate school and all three levels had beach balls, air horns,and hooting/hollering. People have different ways of celebrating accomplishment and why not get excited on completing something you've worked so hard for!I'm not sure where you are from . . . but those things (air horn, pots and pans) are a typical ritual at any graduation. Parents/families use those things to let their grad know they are there for them/are excited for them . . . especially in a sea of thousands of parents! While the speeches are another thing . . keep in mind . . It's high school!!!! If you think this is bad. . .wait until your children's college graduation (not much better!!!)


Posted by pedicure, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 15, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Apparently, none of the complainers have attended a Stanford graduation ceremony.


Posted by Roy, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 15, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Poster...get a life...its a graduation celebration, not a funeral. The kids have shown their respect for society by following the curriculum for 4 years so they can move into the next phase of their lives. Your critical take on the ceremony is a sad reference to the dissappointment in your life, do not project your negative vibes on all these kids, parents or faculty @FHS, they deserve better!!


Posted by Proud Parent 2011, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 16, 2011 at 8:01 am

I think the joyful celebration of the students was the best part of a far too long and cold night. How did we get to graduating classes of nearly 600! The student speakers spoke well, but we were concerned that everyone of them introduced themselves to their peers and explained that no one would know them because they had no friends in HS. Are our kids getting lost in this anonymous sea of students?

Congratulations class of 2011!


Posted by Graduation should be fun, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Jun 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I was at Amador's graduation and thought the kids were having a great time. I did see a staff member jump onto a student and thought that was very unprofessional but I can see how they must get caught up in the fun too. Graduation is a great time and the kids should have fun. I am not as comfortable watching the adults act like kids. They are not graduating, lte the kids shine.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 18, 2011 at 8:14 am

Thank you for all your comments and for allowing me to see other's perspective. However, there is a fine line between having fun and bad behavior. I am not a horrible monster parent as described above....in fact just the opposite. I love nothing more than children's laughter and a good time. I've been to many graduations - high school & college that are beautiful, respectful, inspirational, joyous and loads of FUN. This one at Foothill crossed the line. It went beyond fun to disrespectful. I also agree with those who say "who cares"......there's more important things to worry about......however, even with budget cuts - we need to be mindful of student, teacher and administrative behavior. Otherwise what do we have left. Another mediocre California school.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 18, 2011 at 8:43 am

FYI - beach balls have been discouraged (banned) from the ceremonies because years ago a student in a wheelchair was not able to deflect getting hit in the head with the beach balls. Although it is obvious that the beach ball would not physically harm the student, the potential for other harm was being done. Just a thought to consider.


Posted by joanna, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm

My daughter grad. from FHS in 2005, when the grad. ceremony was held at the Fairgrounds amphitheatre. That setting lends itself to a more dignified ceremony than the football field. It is curved, and the classes and audience are more unifed. The acoustics are definitely better! (Even there, there were a few beachballs and airhorns, and some silliness, I'm glad to say.) Students and parents should enjoy the ceremony, beachballs, special handshakes, and all! The Village ceremony is held at the Amador Theatre, which is another very nice venue. Because of the very large class sizes at AVHS and FHS, the high schools have had to move the ceremony to their football fields, which lend themselves to the rowdier atmosphere. The kids are excited, and after four years of hard work, they are so happy to be graduating! I don't think anyone should take a high school diploma for granted; the poster who mentioned the students had just "cleared the lowest hurdle of life" doesn't seem to recognize that it is a real achievement. There are some students who find that hurdle exceedingly difficult to accomplish. Congratulations, All PUSD Graduates!


Posted by ThankYou, a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 24, 2011 at 9:54 am

Thank you for making me feel that my decision to yank my child out of the PUSD and to place her in a private school was absolutely the right decision for her. (BTW: I am not independent wealthy...and I am dramatically downsizing my lifestyle to afford private school. But she is worth it and it is paying off.)

Also, by contrast, you should have seen her high school's graduation ceremony. So professional, respectful, appropriately honoring the hard work of the students. It made me proud. Sure wish more of the PUSD parents would seriously consider an alternative to public schooling.


Posted by Senior Parent 2012, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 24, 2011 at 10:17 am

Very interesting as several have posted the same atmosphere of "beach balls and air horns" for college and graduate school graduations. This must be an "American" thing, because graduations in Canada are still traditional for both high school and college. I wonder if it is just a "sign" of how "comfortable" and casual American society has become. I see people at all ages walk into what would have been considered formal situations 20 years ago with jeans and more casual manners. Not judging whether this is right or wrong - just noting. Glad to be prepared for what graduation will be like next year for my child - I'll remember the ear plugs so I'm not bothered by the parent behind me with the air horn.


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