Last updated: August 23. 2013 3:49PM - 50 Views

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LEIPSIC — Minutes after the Leipsic school board promised to keep looking at where to hold this year’s graduation ceremony, students lobbying for the location to be changed said they don’t have much hope that the board is listening.“I just don’t think they are going to change it,” senior Jacqui Westrick said as she and about 20 other students and parents left Tuesday’s school board meeting.Tuesday was the students’ third visit to a board meeting to request that graduation be moved back to the old gymnasium instead of the “auditeria,” a combined cafeteria and auditorium.Students say it’s difficult to see in the facility. Board member Dan Zeisloft said last week that the board thoroughly researched the options. He told students Tuesday that it will continue to research it.“We are seriously looking at it, and we will try to make the very best decision we can make,” he said. “We have to revisit the situation and you have to give us time to do that.”Zeisloft told students he could not give them a time frame of when a decision will be made. Students say they’re not done fighting.“We’ll try to come back to the January meeting and go from there,” class Vice President Sonny Gonzalez said, hoping that a change in the board might help their case. Two new members join the board in January.The board decided last year to move the graduation ceremony to the new “auditeria.” A partition to an adjacent new auxiliary gymnasium would be opened for additional seating. Students contend that the auditeria is not a good space for graduation, saying people seated in the adjacent gymnasium won’t be able to see the graduates very well.Students submitted 275 signatures to the board and photographs of a recent elementary Christmas program held in the auditeria, trying to show the difficulties in seeing the stage. Zeisloft commented that “there is no perfect place to have graduation.”Students also say having the ceremony in the gymnasium is school tradition, and that they should have the right to say where the ceremony is held.Parents agree.“This is their time to shine and they should be able to do what they want to,” said Jackie Garcia, whose stepson will graduate during the May 17 ceremony. Seventy students will graduate.When asked during the meeting, “whose graduation is it,” Zeisloft responded “ours,” referring to the board.“We offer them the graduation,” he continued.Garcia is worried about her stepson’s entire family being able to attend and see the ceremony. Students will get a limited number of tickets for seats in the auditeria, with everyone else having to sit in the gymnasium, where students and parents say the graduates won’t be seen.“Our parents, our immediate family aren’t going to see us graduate if we have it in the auditeria,” student Marie Rodriguez said. “All my family wants to see me, let alone everyone else’s families.”“I’ve been to two graduations, and it doesn’t bother me to sit in the [old] gym,” said Mitchell Furry, whose son will graduate. “There’s enough room and no matter where you’re sitting, you’re going to see what’s going on.”Westrick said she doesn’t want to have to “pick and choose” who in her family gets the better seats.Students surveyed the senior class to get an idea of how many people might attend the ceremony. They estimate 1,300.

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