After a controversial period in which it was thought to be canceled, Baccalaureate will take place on May 30 at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts from 1-2:30 p.m.
According to Paly parent Kristen Andersen, the event was initially canceled because the traditional venue was torn down.
“Apparently (Student Activities Director Matt) Hall was not able to find another venue that could accommodate size requirements. There are very few facilities in the area that are large,” Andersen said.
But Andersen said, despite the rumors, the event was never formally canceled.
“I scheduled a meeting with (Principal) Adam Paulson to make sure we were on the same page,” Andersen said. “I asked about Baccalaureate and found out that we did not have a venue. I offered to help look for a venue and Mr. Paulson welcomed my involvement.”
Andersen also said she worked with Hall and Paulson to finalize the details of the event.
“I had told Mr. Paulson I would seek to find a venue in line with the cost of Flint Center,” Andersen said. “I initially found a venue for Friday, 5/29, but in working with the Center for Performing Arts to get an estimate, Saturday opened up. I provided an estimate to Mr. Paulson and Mr. Hall, and Mr. Hall took over finalizing the contract.”
According to Hall, Baccalaureate is a traditional event at Paly.
“This (is) a traditional, inspiring ceremony that focuses on senior student performances,” Hall said.
Senior Haley Ho, who said she plans to audition to perform a dance at Baccalaureate, said she was disappointed when she first heard the program might be canceled.
“I was pretty sad at first,” Ho said. “Because I knew that Baccalaureate was a pretty big tradition at Paly, and throughout high school, I was always looking forward to being a part of it during my senior year.”
Senior Taylor Yamashita, who also plans to audition alongside Ho at the event, agrees.
“I was disappointed,” Yamashita said. “I was really looking forward to performing with friends onstage.”
The event, formerly held at De Anza Community College, also showcases the talents of the graduating class, Hall said.
Ho said the uncertainty surrounding the event led to her and her group losing precious preparation time.
“We created a Spotify playlist of songs that we could potentially dance to after we found out that it was rescheduled,” Ho said. “But we haven’t started practicing yet.”
Ho said her group would have already made some crucial decisions regarding choreography had Baccalaureate not been originally canceled.
“We were all pretty excited about it,” Ho said. “And I think we would have decided on a song already.”
But Yamashita said she was relieved the event returned.
“I’m glad it all worked out,” Yamashita said. “Now I’m excited to start choreographing and working on a piece together.”
Andersen said she worked with Hall and Paulson to reschedule Baccalaureate because she realized students wanted the event.
“And Baccalaureate is a more enjoyable event than graduation,” Andersen said.
Andersen also said parents wanted the event just as much as students.
Andersen said, “Having Baccalaureate on a weekend makes it possible for siblings and relatives out of town to attend. People wanted an opportunity to take pictures and have a celebratory meal with family — this is not possible on graduation night as kids go straight to grad night.”