Kenai Central senior objects to Soldotna graduation spot

Posted: Monday, January 31, 2005

As a member of the Kenai Central High School graduating class of 2005 and member of the audience at many graduation ceremonies at Kenai Central High School, I strongly disagree with and question the decision of the administration to perform graduation ceremonies at the Soldotna Sports Center.

For years, my family and I have attended graduation ceremonies at Kenai Central High School Auditorium, now the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium. From the stage to the acoustics to the lighting to the graduated, padded seating to the actual aisles for graduates to walk down, the auditorium has provided the perfect venue for graduation ceremonies for 18 years.

Last year, the amount of seating became an issue, and, after a vote by the graduates, graduation ceremonies took place at the Soldotna Sports Center. This year, the same decision has been made without consulting the graduating class.

What the administration at KCHS ought to do first is ask the opinion of those people whom their decision affects most — the members of the graduating class of 2005 — and act upon those people's opinions. They must also consider the pros and cons of their decisions.

If the ceremonies decline in quality, we are sure to see a drop in the number of people attending those ceremonies, thereby nullifying the argument about seating. This ultimately comes down to the question of quality versus quantity — to seat fewer guests in an auditorium built for just this kind of event or to seat more spectators in less comfort, with less audio and visual opportunities?

Solutions to the seating problems exist. A guest list, ushers and-or reserved seating for ticket holders would secure premium seats for family members. The auditorium's seats are numbered for exactly this reason. Family members or people on a guest list provided by the students would get the priority seating. The rest of the community wishing to view the ceremonies would have the remaining seats available to them, as well as the Webcam KCHS has provided in years past.

Finally, we seniors have invested up to four years of our time and emotion in Kenai Central High School. To graduate in another building, let alone another town, would cast a pall over an otherwise joyous event.

I certainly have nothing against the Soldotna Sports Center. The opportunities it affords our community are greatly appreciated. It seems a shame that a state-of-the-art performance facility such as the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium will sit unused as students from its school walk across a makeshift stage on an ice rink in another town.

I know I am not alone in these thoughts, and I hope that members of Kenai's community will express their concern over the 2005 graduation ceremonies to the administration at Kenai Central High School.

Jessica Summer, KCHS senior, Soldotna

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