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Battle for the Bleachers

Shelby Johnson, The Bark Reporter

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As Sobrato’s class of 2014 prepares to graduate before the school year comes to an end, many seniors are preparing to attend college, leave the home nest, or in some cases, join the military. The graduation ceremony is to take place June 6th in the mid afternoon.


Recently, however, the senior class has decided on the use of chairs versus bleachers at the graduation ceremony, to ensure a more “college-like” setting.This college setting prepares students for a college environment while saving money.  According to senior Tara McLaughlin, the chairs would be less expensive and have a better look overall.


There was confusion as to where funds are spent in the senior budget, and why we, as students, must raise money to fund bleachers for the ceremony. The answer is simple: Sobrato does not have the funds to provide bleachers.


School systems all around the U.S. in these last couple of years have suffered from budget cuts, and Ann Sobrato High is no different. Assistant Principal Kevin Miller reasons that seniors throughout their high school career are commonly expected to fundraise for senior events.


“Whenever a class does individual fundraisers, the money raised for homecoming or Denny’s goes into that class’ individual account,” Miller said.


“The money isn’t primarily for Disneyland trips or Beach Day,  but it can cover some of those costs,” Miller said. “The class account is for what the class wants as a whole. Money raised from Homecoming is usually raised to provide decorations for the next rally. However, by the time you as a class get to senior year, the idea is that you will have fundraised enough to cover the senior breakfast and/or bleacher cost.”


Bleacher use for a graduation is a divided issue, simply because the senior class and administration have not decided if they should be used or not.


“Our seniors have the choice of sitting behind the audience or traditional style in front of the stage. The school budget for graduation is somewhere between $1200-1500 yearly. A couple years ago we as administration and school realized that the bleachers were a cost we could no longer cover. ” Miller said.


Last year’s senior class faced a similar problem. Luckily, the senior class of 2013 had done enough fundraising to cover the cost of bleachers. Classes should start preparing for graduation earlier in the year to avoid this situation. Class officers should start preparing for graduation earlier in the year to avoid this situation.

Seniors Tara McLaughlin and Ryan Miller, active ASB treasurer and president had a lot to say on the issue. Both students decided to go with chairs over bleachers for this year’s graduation ceremony.


ASB President Ryan Miller said: “In all honesty, the senior class did not make plans to have enough money for bleachers. The reason we are not having bleachers is because if we were to have a fundraiser there was no guarantee that we would’ve been able to raise that much money. If I had allowed the senior class to fundraise and we didn’t reach that goal, funds would come out of next year’s seniors funds, so we chose not to fundraise.”


Fundraising for the class of 2013 was also an issue for seniors, but at the last minute they were able to come together and raise the funds needed to have bleachers for the graduating class.


“The way we were able to spend the money for chairs and screens is a better option in my opinion, not just because it was cheaper but for the format it created,” McLaughlin said. “It’s much like a college graduation. It was more common for chairs, and more economical, most schools use chairs, bleachers were used by the last two classes.”

With the year coming to an end, the senior class is finalizing their graduation plans. The class of 2014 is going to have their ceremony in early June, as other classes prepare fundraisers to overcompensate future graduation funds.

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Battle for the Bleachers