Delayed diplomas distress Class of 2018


Photo Credit: The Declaration Staff

The Class of 2018 will be required to pick up their diplomas on their own, as they will not be handed out at graduation.

An excess of snow days has resulted in Woodbridge Township schools staying open on June 22 – the day after graduation. This change in schedule has forced the township to delay diplomas.

Photo Credit: Photo via The Declaration Staff
Mr. Pace hands Class of 2017 alumnus Euguene Baek a diploma in its case, while he will hand the Class of 2018 and empty diploma case.

Graduating seniors at all three township high-schools will not receive their diplomas at graduation. They will instead be receiving empty diploma cases during the ceremony. Diplomas will be available for pick up from the office the day after graduation. It will then be the graduating seniors’ responsibility to pick up their diploma any day during the summer.

It is important to note that the diplomas will never leave school grounds. The schools will not mail them out or chase down students to come in and claim them. It is the graduating seniors’ responsibility to get their diplomas after the school year has ended. This is being done in an effort to increase the number of students who will be in attendance for the new make-up snow day.

Colonia High School Principal Mr. Kenneth Pace hosted an assembly for seniors explaining the matter, stating, “Any time after that last school day is when all seniors in all three of the high schools will get their diplomas. You will still get your diploma case at the ceremony, but the actual diplomas are not allowed to be handed out until after the actual last school day.”

In a one-on-one interview with Mr. Pace, he felt fairly confident with the district’s decision. He had no concerns with students not claiming their diplomas, stating “The diplomas will remain in counseling and I’m sure our counselors will reach out to parents to notify them that their child still hasn’t picked up their diploma.

Seniors do not have to show up for the whole school day on June 22. Schools will be running on an Early Dismissal schedule ending the day around noon. The day will also be a  final exam makeup day for students who missed finals. Attendance will not be mandatory unless a student has too many absences. Absences will not count against any graduating seniors.

Why the delay?

Pullquote Photo

I don’t know why they chose to extend the school year.”

— Mrs. Jennifer Murphy

The main reason behind the delay is the overabundance of snow days. The school district has a set up amount of minimum hours required in a school year and those hours must be met. Thus, it is mandatory to make up school days missed due to inclement weather.

Makeup days are typically taken off Spring Break. The Woodbridge Board of Education approved the school calendar and its contingency plans for excessive snow days the school year prior. However, instead of taking two days off of Spring Break which was the approved contingency plan, the district decided to  opened schools on March 30 (Good Friday) and June 22 (the day after graduation.)

No one seems know why days weren’t simply taken off Spring Break as planned. Vice Principal Mrs. Jennifer Murphy stated, “I don’t know why they [the school district] chose to extend the school year.

There’s a possibility that the District didn’t want to disrupt Spring Break. Another possibility is that the district was concerned it wouldn’t meet the attendance requirements for the make-up day if it was given on April 6, the originally scheduled snow make-up day.

Knowing that the snow days were excessive this year, some states forgave the missed days and did not require the schools to make up the days. New Jersey was not one of those states. Pennsylvania schools piloted a program called Flexible Instructional Days which allowed students to complete assignments at home online in lieu of make-up snow days. Cyber days such as this could be a future solution to excessive snow days.

Student Outlook

The results of a Twitter poll shows the disagreement with diplomas being delayed, with only 4% reporting feeling good about the decision.

Student outlook on the matter is generally negative. Seniors seem to not feel good about the idea that they will not be receiving their diplomas at Graduation.

Senior Aimee Seppelt had this to say, “I hate it. I feel like there’s no point in holding the diplomas after we graduate – it’s just forcing students to be at school when they don’t want to be.”

The lack of communication between the District and its students has also upset a few seniors. Almost none of the seniors are exactly sure what’s going on due to lack of communication.