"Honoring Seniors with a pre-grad ceremony? Preposterous!!" / Cartoon by Ajay Venkatraman

Baccalaureate ought to be held despite challenges

Faced with limited funds, support and space, administrators are considering canceling Baccalaureate, Paly’s pre-graduation celebration for outgoing seniors and their families, for the third year in a row.

The Campanile urges administrators not to follow through on this decision and to instead hold Baccalaureate this year, not only as a celebration for a class that has learned and succeeded through one of the most challenging high school careers in the past century, but also as a way to reinstate the long-valued and beloved tradition.

After almost a year and half learning remotely and another navigating the uncertainty and countless safety concerns of COVID-19 in person, this year’s graduating seniors have more than earned a joyous, proper sendoff. While the end-of-year graduation parties and graduation ceremony itself provide a strong sense of closure, Baccalaureate offers a unique chance for students and families to connect and experience a more informal, intimate farewell.

That said, The Campanile recognizes the real concerns over hosting Baccalaureate this year, namely, the lack of a venue and sufficient funds. However, with the spirit of Baccalaureate being that of entertainment, inspiration and memory, even a Paly-hosted event featuring student performances — such as the concert choir or dance team, which have historically performed — would capture its underlying essence.

What’s more, while Paly administrators said they would try to include students from more grade levels should they hold Baccalaureate, it is important to remember that at its core, Baccalaureate is a senior celebration.

With budgetary concerns in mind, limiting the event’s availability to the traditional senior-only crowd could help bring down or eliminate some of its cost.

Reinstating Baccalaureate would also reestablish the decades-long tradition Paly seniors lost in 2020 and 2021. Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, restoring the traditions we gave up throughout it could help spread a sense of hope for future classes, and Baccalaureate is not only a significant but feasible place to start.

The challenges Baccalaureate planners and administrators face in organizing the event are significant, but The Campanile hopes all those involved in making the decision will make the effort to proceed with Baccalaureate for the benefit of both the current and future senior classes.