Vail Daily letter: Graduation date conflict | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Graduation date conflict

I am writing on behalf of many concerned students of the class of 2016. This year, the date of Eagle Valley High School’s graduation falls on the same day as the Colorado High School State track meet. I would like to voice the distress of the student-athletes who will qualify for this incredible event.

Graduation is one of the monumental moments in our lives that we will forever recall. It’s the last time for us to be with all of our fellow classmates and congratulate one another on the substantial accomplishments we have made throughout the last four years. Putting on a cap and gown is something that will probably only happen twice in a lifetime; and taking away our first experience to do so is simply insensitive.

Being a part of an athletic team has taught me a lot about priorities. Our school has always taken pride in the fact that we are student-athletes and student will always come first. There have been countless times in the past four years where this responsibility was exceedingly overwhelming. Still, as my teachers and coaches have pushed me towards excellence, I have managed to tackle this task. Being able to balance school and sports is satisfactory to myself and my teammates.

I qualified for the state track meet my freshman year, and have been every year since. Through countless practices that have left me drained and frustrated, I always knew I could keep my head up. This is because the state track meet is the most rewarding feeling I have encountered in all of my 18 years. However, graduation day should be at the top of that list. Never did I think that I would be faced with a decision like this one. How can I go into my senior track season knowing that all of my hard work won’t even pay off in the end? On the other hand, how can I shift from a student-athlete to an “athlete-student” when we all know which is a true priority?

I know that I have not sat in on the meetings that decide dates like graduation. Still, I find it hard to believe that we had no other options. Whether it be going to school for one week longer or changing the day, I know how all of my classmates would respond. The class of 2016 is kind-hearted and understanding. We have been with each other through it all, and we are willing to make sacrifices for the well-being of each individual. However, this is not just one individual. This is affecting all of the state track athletes if students are forced to choose to attend their own graduation. Relay teams will either be torn apart, or Eagle Valley’s valedictorian will be absent for his speech. Either way, I’m sure there is something that we could do to alter the date for the benefit of many student-athletes.

Victoria Schwaiger