The parent of a Clovis High student-athlete wants the school board to change CHS' graduation date because of a conflict with the state's spring sports championships.
He said he doesn't feel graduating student-athletes should have to make a choice.
Clovis High graduation is scheduled for May 18, the same date as the final day of the big school state track meet and state softball and tennis championships.
“Clovis High has a district motto of, ‘Every child, every time,’” said Joel Sievers, whose daughter Jenna, a senior, is a defending state high jump champion. “I think the school board should act on this motto so no students are excluded from graduation.”
Sievers said he has a letter backed with 300 signatures he plans to present at today’s school board meeting asking that the graduation date be changed.
Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Terry Myers said he has discussed the issue with several parents and school board members. Myers does not think the graduation date can be changed because preparation for graduation is in motion.
“Family members have made travel and lodging arrangements and have ordered graduation invitations,” Myers said. “A change right now to accommodate those (graduation attendees) who might make the state finals would affect many more individuals.”
Myers said school officials will plan to provide special recognition for the student athletes who are unable to participate in graduation. He said students will also have the option of walking at the Choices Alternative High School graduation the following Monday.
“I feel bad for those students and understand it is a big deal, but we have other options to try to mediate the situation,” Myers said. "I’m now trying to make a decision that will benefit the greatest number of students.”
Sievers said it's not only the athletes who are impacted by the conflict.
“There are a number of us whose children and grandchildren are affected by this. As parents of seniors we understand the graduation is the last time these kids will get to be together with their friends as a group. I feel that we are trying to stand up for our children and their rights.”
Sievers pointed out participating in the state championships is good exposure for those hoping to gain a college athletic scholarship.
He believes the board should adopt a policy requiring it to consider graduation and sporting events early in the year to avoid this type of issue.
The same issue arose about four years ago, but the graduation date was moved from Saturday to Sunday, according to Sievers and school officials.
Clovis won the girls state track title that year.
“The team might not have won if the date was not changed and any of our kids had chosen to attend graduation instead of the state track meet,” Sievers said.
JD Isler, a local rancher and former CHS basketball coach, also plans to attend today’s school board meeting to support the schedule change.
Isler wants the graduation date to be moved to Sunday, the next day.
“I just don’t feel like kids should be put in the position where they have to make the choice if it can be helped,” said Isler, whose daughter Jacee is on the CHS girls track team and will graduate in May. “These kids have worked for 12 years and also want to represent Clovis High well at state.”