GHS graduation punt

Gilroy – For the first time in decades, seniors at Gilroy High
School may not graduate on the football field.
The grass seniors from years past sunk their heels into when
walking to collect their diploma, is being replaced with synthetic
turf, and construction of the new field may not be completed in
time for the June 17 commencement ceremonies.
Gilroy – For the first time in decades, seniors at Gilroy High School may not graduate on the football field.

The grass seniors from years past sunk their heels into when walking to collect their diploma, is being replaced with synthetic turf, and construction of the new field may not be completed in time for the June 17 commencement ceremonies.

“If everything falls into place – we’ll have a beautiful green football field to graduate on,” said assistant principal Greg Camacho-Light. And if it doesn’t …

“Plan B,” he said.

That plan involves renting 6,000 chairs and placing them on the junior fields. It was unveiled Wednesday night during the Parent Club meeting at GHS.

“We’ll know sooner, rather than later – but we want to let people know now, so that they’re not shocked if it happens,” Camacho-Light said.

School officials were aware of the time conflict with graduation when they booked the contractors, however, several factors were considered before they made the final decision – Important factors, like not interfering with the fall football schedule or digging during the rainy season. But the primary reason is because this is the only time the contractors could put in the turf, Principal Bob Bravo said.

“That’s the time slot we got,” he said. “It was either now or the same time next year.”

The groundbreaking occurs April 11, slightly more than two months before the graduation. If all goes according to plan, the field will be ready two to seven days prior to the ceremonies.

“There’s an April 21 deadline for the contractors (to know if they’re on schedule),” Camacho-Light said. “Then we’re going to look each other in the eye and say, ‘Are we going to be able to make this deadline?'”

When that day arrives, the seniors will know their fate and Camacho-Light can either abort or proceed with the backup plan.

“My job is to make sure that it’s nice looking – not just an adequate presentation,” he said.

Prior to his position as assistant principal, Camacho-Light worked in the GHS theater department, so he knows the importance of presentation and setting.

“Plan B always sounds the second best, but it’s still going to be very memorable,” he assured. “The actual function of the graduation is the same, the only change is where you sit.”

And that is all parents and students can hope for.

“Sure, we could turn this into a negative thing,” said Grad Night co-chair Diane Baty. “But my hope is that it will still be just as nice whatever field it’s on.”

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