The Trouble With Getting Out Of the Rain


Ah, spring. A time of birdsong, snowmelt, and income taxes. If you’re a senior, spring also happens to entail a certain cap and gown event. However, spring is classically a time for change, and some changes can bring controversy.

I’m speaking of course about the venue switch for senior graduation. Due to some rather soggy events last year, the Boulder High administration has made the choice to swap out the traditional Recht Field for the drier and more enclosed CU Events Center, a swap that has been accompanied by a later start time of 7:00 PM and an all-new $50 fee. Unsurprisingly, these changes have sparked some outrage among the senior population.

Says Keeley Garland, a senior who has acted as a source for us on school-related matters before, “We can deal with the rain. We’ve dealt with [it] the past however many years, and now we have to pay $50 to walk at graduation … [even though] none of the students asked for it to be held somewhere else.”

Surprisingly enough, however, the installation of a graduation fee apparently had nothing to do with the change in venue. When interviewed, Dr. James Hill (the Boulder High principal and decision-maker-in-chief on issues such as these) made the background on the subject quite clear: “What people don’t understand is there were costs involved in having it here. We [had] to rent golf carts; we [had] to rent the pieces to put up the stage; we [had] to rent the police officers that work it; we [had] to pay overtime to our custodial staff. There wasn’t a situation where we just added a fee because of a venue — it’s ironic it’s there now, but we were going to add [it] anyways.”

In years past, funds for senior graduation came out of the school budget itself, but according to Hill, the school can no longer afford to pick up the entirety of the cost.

However, with yet another price tag added to graduation, one starts to wonder just how expensive graduating should actually be. In the past, the only sticker price to worry about was the cost of caps and gowns ($42.50 apiece when ordered online). Yet, when an extra fifty dollars is added on top of that, the total price begins to look a bit hefty, coming out at nearly $100.

And while, like most fees at BHS, this one can and will be waived for any student who cannot afford it, the fact remains that graduating in the traditional BHS style is looking a mite expensive for our 2019 seniors.

This brings us to the second problem cited by Garland: the timing. “It’s at seven PM,” she told me bluntly. “We have a really large class so we’re going to be getting home super late… and my mom has to leave for work at five [the next day], so she’s not getting any sleep, pretty much.”

According to Hill, this issue was brought about mainly by the conflicting graduations of other schools. “Because we were the last school in the district to move indoors, and other high schools in other districts had previously contracted times, this was the only time available.”

This means that it is unlikely that this late start time will persist for next year’s graduating class, as, in the future, BHS will hopefully be able to book a time slot before the rest of Boulder Valley snatches up the more practical ones.

Nevertheless, the rest of the changes (i.e. the venue and the fee) are likely to remain as they are, for the foreseeable future, with Hill saying they would stick around “as long as [he’s] principal,” but that he would “see how it goes this year.”

The venue change itself was necessary because, as Hill put it, “Our enrollment has increased in the last couple years by a hundred plus students. That means our graduating class has increased, and… we’re starting to outgrow that venue.”

Whatever the changes may be, however, both Hill and Garland had something they agreed on: this year’s graduation will certainly be drier, if perhaps more expensive.