In the beginning of March, a petition was made via google forms to protest the moving of the 2021 Graduation Ceremony to Aloha Stadium. The petition soon approached a thousand signatures, and in response, a presentation was made on March 11 to suggest to Principal Justin Mew the possibility for Kaiser Graduation to be held at the Kaiser football field.
The effort was spearheaded by the class of 2021 leadership class, with seniors from outside also assisting. The group included seniors Macy Hill, Kaitlyn Okamoto, Ty Ashimine, Jacie Kaneshiro, Lucas Shearer, and Kenji Toyama.
The seniors have lost many of their “lasts” due to the pandemic that hit more than a year ago. The included their last homecoming, prom, winter fantasy, sports seasons, and perhaps most importantly, graduation. Last year, the seniors had to replace their traditional graduation ceremony and now it could happen again with this year’s graduating class. Thankfully, unlike last year’s drive thru ceremony the Seniors of 21’ have two available options for them: the traditional graduation at Kaiser or an alternative, theAloha Stadium.
Senior Ty Ashimine helped create a petition to have their class’s graduation at kaiser. “We started the petition because we felt that having graduation on our own field would bring a lot more meaning…after such a tragic year,” he said. Over a thousand signees felt that it would be fair for graduation to be held at their home field like previous years. Although the petition did not succeed, it was an unifying moment for the senior class—Ashimine, “was really surprised to see the number of people and my classmates who cared to help the cause,” he said.
Motivated by the petition, senior Macy Hill, who wanted to have her graduation ceremony at Kaiser, advocated for her peers’ thoughts by presenting to Mr. Mew the importance of graduating at Kaiser. “With everything that has happened the past year, we seniors have lost so much. Not only did we lose our entire senior year but also events that were cancelled during junior year like prom,” Hill said. “With all of these things being cancelled due to the pandemic, we have the chance to have one more event with our entire class. Spending this time at home would be the ideal way to conclude our senior year.” She made a strong argument to her classmates, and was able to gain their support in creating the presentation, with ideas contributed such as calculating specific measurements for social distancing and having trolleys for the seniors to arrive on.
Others felt differently, such as senior Jodie Otani, who found the relocation to Aloha Stadium appropriate for the circumstances. “Aloha stadium can accommodate our goal by having an in-person graduation all together with OC16 broadcasting it on TV,” she said. By having graduation at the Aloha Stadium, the event could also be broadcasted live for friends and family at home to watch their loved ones graduate.
Despite mixed opinions on the result, everyone agrees that the main goal is to have all the seniors together to have an in-person graduation. “We all came together to make our voices heard and for that I am proud,” Ashimine said.