The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Graduation should be held at Walter Johnson

The+class+of+2022+lines+up+on+the+football+field+for+graduation.+The+location+of+graduation+for+the+class+of+2024+has+not+been+decided+yet.
Photo courtesy Dorothea Wolfson
The class of 2022 lines up on the football field for graduation. The location of graduation for the class of 2024 has not been decided yet.

The beginning of senior year is a stressful, busy time. We’re in the midst of writing our college applications and some of us have yet to even submit one. Graduation may be far from our minds right now, but senior year goes by fast. Before we know it, we’ll be in our green caps and gowns, receiving our diplomas. And so it is important that we take into consideration the details of graduation, such as the location. For the past couple of years, the location of graduation has changed. Some years it’s been at WJ, other times it’s been at UMBC, UMD or other venues off campus. For the class of 2024, that decision has yet to be made. But hopefully, we’ll graduate right here at WJ: the most special place to celebrate our four years of high school.

Principal Jennifer Baker explained the many factors that are considered when choosing the best location for graduation. One factor is the number of tickets. If graduation were to take place at WJ, each student would get 4 tickets. Whereas, at UMBC, each student would get 7 tickets. In addition, having graduation at WJ is more expensive than it would be at UMBC. UMBC would cost $17,548, compared to the $27,789-$32,449 it would cost by having it at WJ.

Baker stated that the sound quality would be higher at UMBC than at WJ. She also discussed weather being an issue if graduation were at WJ, as weather can be so unpredictable. All of these points raised by Baker are very important to take into account. While, yes, UMBC is the less expensive option and seemingly the more practical option, graduating at a college 40 minutes away simply won’t feel as special or as momentous as graduating at our own very high school would feel.

My brother graduated from WJ two years ago at WJ’s stadium. Although it was very hot, the heat didn’t take away from the special ceremony. It was an incredible sight to see all the green caps being flung into the sky over the stadium, as well as watching the graduates walking across the football field to receive their diplomas.

The football field is where some of us played football, lacrosse, field hockey or soccer. It’s where some of us ran on track. It’s where game winning touchdowns or goals were scored. It’s where personal track records were set. It’s where cheer, poms, step and drumline practiced and performed. The football field is where we completed our PE credits. It’s where we screamed at pep rallies in support of WJ teams. In short, the football field is where we bonded with our fellow classmates over the past four years.

Those types of memories make graduation so much more memorable by having it held at WJ’s stadium. We feel more connected and sentimental about high school. If we graduated at UMBC, there would be very little nostalgia or attachment to the place.

WJ is a very diverse school with all sorts of different students. Some of us are athletes, some are musicians, some are artists, some are neither. But the one thing that we all have in common is that we all spent our four years of high school together at WJ. We’ve sweated over our school work, AP tests and college applications together at WJ. So what’s a little more sweat at graduation?

Yes, UMBC may be the cost-effective option, but will it be the venue that fills our hearts with pride of place and fond memories?

High school graduation not only commemorates the end of high school but also the end of our childhood. I couldn’t think of a better place to celebrate the end of an era and the start of a new one than right here at home at WJ.

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About the Contributor
Rachael Wolfson, Print Editor-in-Chief
Rachael Wolfson is currently a senior and this is her third year on The Pitch. During her first two years, Rachael was a Print Opinion Editor and now she is a Print Editor-in-Chief. In addition to The Pitch, Rachael runs on the cross country and track team. She's also the Co-Founder and Co-President of The WJ Gilmore Girls Club. Her two older brothers (Thomas '20 and Alexander '22) also served as Print Editors-in-Chief when they were Wildcats/Madcows (take your pick). Rachael is looking forward to ending the Wolfson Dynasty (2017-2024) on a high note!! 
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