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  1. #1
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    AZ - Valley HS senior with leukemia denied cap, gown wants policy change

    Valley HS senior with leukemia denied cap, gown wants policy change

    Stephen Dwyer sat in the stands with his parents watching last night’s graduation ceremony at Dobson High School.

    Dwyer is the school body president at Dobson High School. He’s an exceptional student with a 4.2 GPA. He is also a senior and yet he was unable to take part in the 2016 graduation ceremony.

    “I started crying because it did mean so much to me,” he said.

    http://www.12news.com/news/local/val...ange/218517783

  2. #2
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    I know it's easy to feel real empathy for him, but I agree with the district's decision. Walking across the stage, and being awarded a diploma is reserved only for those who have completed the graduation requirements. Being 3 credits shy of a diploma is 3 credits shy.

    I think it was really lovely and gracious that he was able to lead the class out into the stadium, but he isn't graduating yet, so he won't walk across the stage to receive a diploma. I did scholarship reviews for our alternative school (it's not for discipline, but for kids who for various reasons struggle to complete graduation requirements) and each has their own story. It's honestly a miracle they do fulfill the requirements, considering the heavy burdens they are carrying. Kids in foster care who've moved 7 times in high school, kids in poverty who have had to take a job to support the family, kids who are at home taking care of an ill parent, etc. If you let this boy go through the ceremony, you'd have to review each of these cases and decide if you like the student enough to bend the rules. And that certainly isn't fair!

    He's lucky. He's survived leukemia, he's beloved in the community, and he's almost graduated. All he missed out on was wearing a silly looking hat.

  3. #3
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    Well I don't see how it would hurt anyone to let kids wear a silly gown and hat and sit on the stage with their class... he wasn't expecting to get a diploma, just be part of the ceremony

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donjeta View Post
    Well I don't see how it would hurt anyone to let kids wear a silly gown and hat and sit on the stage with their class... he wasn't expecting to get a diploma, just be part of the ceremony
    Then how would you treat the boy whose mother died during his junior year and he had to help take care of his 3 younger siblings so he was unable to take summer school to make up his junior English credit? Or the one whose parents moved and left him behind to basically fend for himself and he failed senior algebra with a 69? Those are both actual cases we considered for scholarships, among so many others with similar obstacles.

    Do they also get to sit in the audience with a cap and gown and walk across the stage? If not, it would seem terribly unfair.

  5. #5
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    Well I don't see why not. It's just the decorations and means nothing in terms of course credits, it's just nice memories, for the sense of belonging. I don't see any reason to be stingy with nice memories You get the actual diploma if you've earned it but my conditions for letting someone sit on a stage and feel like a part of his class would be far less stringent
    Last edited by Donjeta; 05-30-2016 at 03:05 PM.

  6. #6
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    This is such a tough situation, my husband and I talked about it, and it boils down to the old adage, "no good deed goes unpunished." If they had let him, then that would have set a precedence and every hard-luck or health situation they would have been fought on. It just stinks no matter how you look at it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donjeta View Post
    Well I don't see why not. It's just the decorations and means nothing in terms of course credits, it's just nice memories, for the sense of belonging. I don't see any reason to be stingy with nice memories You get the actual diploma if you've earned it but my conditions for letting someone sit on a stage and feel like a part of his class would be far less stringent
    That's a thought, and maybe a school district might adopt that. If you've participated in school here, and feel this is your graduation class, you can come participate and your name will be called and you can walk across the stage and shake the suit's hands. And maybe in the program, there would be asterisks by those student's names who were receiving diplomas.

    That way, students who dropped out for various reasons most of the way to the goal, students who had catastrophic illnesses and couldn't finish yet, and students who moved to another school in their senior year could all participate.

    I mean that seriously. That would be a decision for the school board to make - open graduation ceremonies for those who, for social reasons, believe they are members of the graduating class. It would make it more like Prom, and would take the purpose out of the program, but it would be as fair as the current policy of allowing only those who actually completed the requirements to participate. Allow all who completed substantial percentage of the requirements, and would like to participate.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by babyroxy1969 View Post
    This is such a tough situation, my husband and I talked about it, and it boils down to the old adage, "no good deed goes unpunished." If they had let him, then that would have set a precedence and every hard-luck or health situation they would have been fought on. It just stinks no matter how you look at it.
    You also have to remember there are kids who did quite well, earned a diploma, but decided not to participate because it's so deadly boring. So it's not like this graduation ceremony is 100K check, it's a ceremony.

    And you have to decide who will participate, and make it fair and not based on emotional issues.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donjeta View Post
    Well I don't see why not. It's just the decorations and means nothing in terms of course credits, it's just nice memories, for the sense of belonging. I don't see any reason to be stingy with nice memories You get the actual diploma if you've earned it but my conditions for letting someone sit on a stage and feel like a part of his class would be far less stringent
    Well...... hmmmmm...... is it a graduation ceremony, or a nice memories ceremony?

    Perhaps they should hold a "nice memories ceremony" that any senior can participate in, to celebrate the end of the school year.

    And a "graduation ceremony" for those who are actually... you know.... graduating.
    JMO. MOO.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonjay View Post
    Well...... hmmmmm...... is it a graduation ceremony, or a nice memories ceremony?

    Perhaps they should hold a "nice memories ceremony" that any senior can participate in, to celebrate the end of the school year.

    And a "graduation ceremony" for those who are actually... you know.... graduating.

    The part where you get the diploma is the graduation ceremony that counts. Everything else is window dressing and a photo opportunity. I don't really care who takes part in a photo op. If the kids care, they can do it, as far as I'm concerned. *shrug*


  11. #11
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    So he was unable to complete his credits due to fighting cancer. What about all the kids who graduated but were pushed through the system despite barely getting by. Kids failing a grade is a rare thing these days, at least where I am from. He's not asking for a diploma, just to put on a cap and gown with his fellow classmates. Of which he was a leader by the way.

  12. #12
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    When I graduated, back in the early 80s, you were allowed to participate and walk across the stage. The diplomas were not in the cases. You had to get that piece of paper after the ceremony that night. If you did in fact not complete the requirements, you were not given the diploma until you completed your requirements.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeannaT View Post
    That's a thought, and maybe a school district might adopt that. If you've participated in school here, and feel this is your graduation class, you can come participate and your name will be called and you can walk across the stage and shake the suit's hands. And maybe in the program, there would be asterisks by those student's names who were receiving diplomas.

    That way, students who dropped out for various reasons most of the way to the goal, students who had catastrophic illnesses and couldn't finish yet, and students who moved to another school in their senior year could all participate.

    I mean that seriously. That would be a decision for the school board to make - open graduation ceremonies for those who, for social reasons, believe they are members of the graduating class. It would make it more like Prom, and would take the purpose out of the program, but it would be as fair as the current policy of allowing only those who actually completed the requirements to participate. Allow all who completed substantial percentage of the requirements, and would like to participate.
    This is how they did it at my college so I don't see why it couldn't happen in high school. The rules were you had to have three or less classes to finish and you had to already be enrolled in those classes for that summer. If so, you still got to walk with the class and even got handed a fake diploma. In the program there was an asterisk next to these students names and down at the bottom it said something like "expected to graduate".

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AC's Grandma View Post
    When I graduated, back in the early 80s, you were allowed to participate and walk across the stage. The diplomas were not in the cases. You had to get that piece of paper after the ceremony that night. If you did in fact not complete the requirements, you were not given the diploma until you completed your requirements.
    This is how it went at my high school too. And in college a friend of mine received a notice saying he'd get the diploma when his library fines were paid off.

    I don't see what the big deal is, honestly. Let him walk with his friends and have his moment. It's not like he's getting away with something or cheating.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesneakers View Post
    This is how it went at my high school too. And in college a friend of mine received a notice saying he'd get the diploma when his library fines were paid off.

    I don't see what the big deal is, honestly. Let him walk with his friends and have his moment. It's not like he's getting away with something or cheating.
    So, where does this stop? Does it stop at missing just one class? Or maybe 2? Up to 3? You had to complete your sophomore credits?

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