Editor, Ceres Courier,
My name is Angela Pimentel and I was the 2013 Valedictorian for Central Valley High School. I was writing to let you know how disappointed I was in your article "Let's rethink the way we do grad ceremonies."
Let me start by addressing points that we both agree on. Is graduation a boring ceremony? Absolutely, yes. It's people walking to the same music that thousands upon thousands of others have walked to, the same dreary speeches, and the same cap toss at the end. I get it, it's really boring. What you don't seem to realize is that you're not the only one who feels this way. The pictures you published seem to tell the whole story; a bunch of kids who are just waiting to get off of the stage. Perhaps we are even more bored than you are; remember we had to go to practice for the ceremony. And yeah, sitting up there while over 300 names are called out gets old really fast. We get it, but for some reason I feel as though you partly blaming the students for the way the ceremony goes.
The speeches all sound the same because they are basically the same speech rewritten time and time again. "Yes, go out and change the world," along with "have faith in yourself" seem to have become staples of the modern graduation speech. What you don't seem to realize is that that's the only thing we're allowed to write.
Remember, our speeches are pre-approved. And if we change it we can lose our diploma. One of our speakers that night had something really creative and brilliant that she wanted to say, however, she was told she wasn't allowed to say it because it was too risqué. So please don't blame us for having a lack of creativity, we have an enormous amount of it. We're just not allowed to show it.
As for the bilingual speeches, I'm not sure if you're aware of the fact that most of the families in the audience are Hispanic, and that many of them don't speak English. Every parent deserves to understand their child's graduation ceremony, so please don't start with the elitist attitude that so many have against Hispanics; it comes off very negatively. You also said that someone should check speeches to keep them from slaughtering the English language.Well, I was reading my section in the newspaper and you seem to have messed up. My speech said "curve away from the mainstream," while you seemed to have written "carve a way." So please don't complain, everyone has a mistake every now and then.
Bottom line, graduation ceremonies are boring, but that doesn't give you the right to attack students or the schools who are just trying to do the best with what they have. So please, don't complain, or at least don't do it in the same issue that hundreds of grads are waiting for.