Home News Local news Graduation Compromise Reached at CAHS

Graduation Compromise Reached at CAHS


May 12, 2005 – Graduating students of the Charlotte Amalie High School are getting something they really wanted this year — a June 5 ceremony at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center.
The graduation date for the mighty Chicken Hawks ruffled a lot of feathers last month when the office of the district superintendent announced a change. Education officials said the event had to be pushed back to June 19, allowing students to make up for class time that was lost to bad weather early in the year.
But on Thursday Jeanette Smith, high school principal, indicated a compromise had been reached with the help of soon-to-be grads and their parents.
"The parents and the students petitioned the governor and the commissioner and discussions were held. Finally, the commissioner informed us they would allow us to hold the graduation on June 5 as we had initially planned," the principal said.
Angered over what they saw as an abrupt change in plans, announced to them at a late April PTA meeting, members of the Class of 2005 and supporters staged a protest in front of Government House on April 20. They demanded the date be changed back to June 5, but the next day Education Department spokeswoman Juel Anderson relayed a negative response from higher-ups.
"The June 19 date will remain," Anderson said at the time. "We had four make-up days which pushed the graduation back."
But this week the school principal explained why protestors decided to press their appeal in the face of the initial rejection: Families traveling from abroad — some from as far as Japan — had already booked their tickets. It was much the same for CAHS alumni who planned to join the ceremony. And some graduates also had travel plans, reporting to colleges and military assignments to which they had already made commitments.
"If we had gotten word of that change a little earlier in the year, it would have been easier for people to make plans. But it's probably too late to ask seniors and parents to make some major changes," Smith said.
Education officials say it's required for public school students to get classroom instructions for at least 1,080 hours each year. The principal said that will be the case for CAHS ninth, tenth, and eleventh graders.
"The ninth, tenth, and eleven graders will be in school beyond that date. The school year does not end until the 21st. So the ninth, tenth, and eleventh graders will go a little longer. But truthfully speaking adding four days, six days to the school year for graduating seniors is of really no value," she said.
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