- Special Sections
- Public Notices
In response to the article pertaining to the ILHS graduation, we have to say that the way the “uncertainty” period and decision-making was handled is not as written in the article.
In the news release, it appears the school administrators had everything under control and that there was no reason for concern on the students’ or parents’ part, when, in fact, the administrators were fumbling with their process on how to handle the situation and were the ones who put the students “up in arms” over graduation.
The parents did not receive official word of the graduation faux pas and any assurance of how it was being handled until a letter was sent out Friday (April 18) after our students were already upset. When parents tried to contact the school and could not get anyone to answer their calls, they decided to contact the district, who, by Wednesday (April 16), still did not have a clue about what was going on in regards to ILHS graduation.
Many phone calls and e-mails to both the school and district have been made by a majority of the parents and to quote one parent’s view (who works at ILHS) on where to have the graduation is obviously a misrepresentation of the whole senior class.
The school can barely handle or accommodate regular school events, much less a graduation, an event that definitely exceeds the caliber of any event held at the school. Next year, when or if the administration starts their planning process before graduates order the announcements, maybe then they could make graduation a special and honorary event at the school – that should be their goal for 2009.
Following is additional information not mentioned in the April 23 article:
1. Announcements were ordered in fall of 2007 without the school reserving and confirming the venue (like planning a wedding without reserving your location). Winthrop did contact ILHS regarding graduation.
2. Announcements, along with other graduation items, were paid for and received before spring break. Many announcements were sent out.
3. During spring break, ILHS administrators learned of the venue faux pas. (Not sure who or how they discovered this huge oversight.)
4. School reconvened on April 14, but administrators did not have a meeting with seniors until April 15, at which time the administration informed the students that they (the administration) didn’t have a clue of what to do and wanted the students’ input. The students walked away from that meeting unsure if they would have a nice graduation. The students, distressed, contacted their parents and tried to relay, in an emotional state, what they understood to be happening to the event they have been working toward all their academic life. The school should have communicated the information to the parents, via the phone announcement system or in written form, on April 15, the same day they conducted the meeting with the seniors, to dispel, as Kathy Faris put it, “rumors.”
5. On April 17, the seniors were asked to vote on the venue with the choices being:
- ILHS gym (of course, no room to hold a graduation)
- ILHS stadium (if they got a better sound system and, if weather permitted; if not, then the event would have to be in the gym)
- Winthrop Coliseum (the seniors were told they would sacrifice their senior trip and that the graduation would be horrible because of the sound system).
In addition to the coliseum coming out of the senior funds, they were led to believe the invitation inserts with the correction were being paid out of those funds, too. So not only were the students being chided for their decision, but also they were paying the price for the administration’s mistakes.
Now, would you say the students and parents did not have reason to be upset during the “uncertainty” period? We understand the magnitude of making last-minute arrangements for an event this big, however, the administration should have led by example with assurance instead of pointing blame and not taking ownership right away. Putting the whole scheduling responsibility off on an employee who left at the end of the 2007 school year is hardly an excuse for the follow-up that should have been done when Josten’s was scheduled to take invitation orders in the beginning of this school year.
Just for the record, all the issues are still not resolved to our satisfaction. The seniors should have their senior trip paid for and the sound system at the coliseum should be tested in advance of the graduation to ensure a great performance level instead of using it as an excuse.
We want to commend David Knight on his efforts; the district has been more proactive about this whole ordeal than the administrators at the school level.
Julie Coley, Kim Carlisle and Joyce and David Vitek are parents of ILHS 2008 seniors.