Graduation debacle prompts gym expansion talks

Seen outside the San Benito High School varsity gym on Friday are disappointed family members of graduating seniors who were unhappy that the graduation ceremony was moved indoors. (Staff photo by Francisco E. Jimenez)

Seen outside the San Benito High School varsity gym on Friday are disappointed family members of graduating seniors who were unhappy that the graduation ceremony was moved indoors. (Staff photo by Francisco E. Jimenez)

By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
Managing Editor
editor@sbnewspaper.com

There were many lessons to be learned from Friday evening’s San Benito High School Graduation Ceremony debacle, but officials may revisit a past concern in an effort to prevent another “chaotic” situation from occurring.

The ceremony was originally scheduled for 8 p.m. on June 7 at Bobby Morrow Stadium, that is before a thunderstorm swept across the area, bringing with it heavy rain, wind and lightning that prompted San Benito CISD officials and high school administrators to go with “plan B” – otherwise known as the varsity gymnasium.

With just two individuals per graduate allowed in the gym due to accommodation restrictions, not to mention many seniors failing to give their parents the tickets needed for entry, nearly 200 people found themselves outside the facility and peering into its glass doors in hopes of catching a glimpse of the proceedings. Many in attendance, including students, expressed frustration over the situation by heckling school board members, district officials and faculty. Some even encouraged graduates to walk out on their own ceremony while, in at least one case, a complaint was made that the gym exceeded its maximum occupancy and constituted a fire code violation.

School board members then decided to postpone the event until 9 a.m. Saturday at the original site, Bobby Morrow Stadium. The decision was better received as the second attempt at holding the ceremony did not experience any of the previous evening’s problems.

Still, there are some who argue that the gym, which was built to accommodate 4A events when the high school was erected in 1978, requires an expansion.

The idea of expanding the gym to more adequately accommodate a graduation ceremony, if needed, is one that Board of Trustees Secretary June Aguilera is willing to consider.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.sbnewspaper.com/2013/06/12/11206/

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