MBHS graduates preparing for new horizons
by DAVE SCHWAB
May 28, 2014 | 1823 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Graduates of Mission Bay High will experience the pomp and circumstance of commencement ceremonies June 13.                           Photo by Don Balch
Graduates of Mission Bay High will experience the pomp and circumstance of commencement ceremonies June 13. Photo by Don Balch
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By all accounts, 2014 was an exceptional year — and an exceptional graduating class — at Mission Bay High School (MBHS).

This year was also unique in that work on the high school’s $13 million athletic complex forced the class of 2014 to hold its graduation ceremony off campus be-cause of unforseen circumstances on June 13.

It’s been a story of triumph and tribulation.

Perhaps then, it’s appropriate, given the circumstances, that MBHS seniors will celebrate their final day at MBHS graduating at Clairemont High School.

“The 365-day timeline (athletic complex) wiped out the graduation we had been planning,” said principal Fred Hilgers, who helped broker a deal with Clairemont High to hold this year’s graduation ceremony there.

Hilger said no stone was left unturned by he and a committee with full parent and community participation to find a viable — and affordable — alternative graduation venue.

“We could have rented out Golden Hall and shared costs with other schools in the Community Concourse downtown,” he said, but he added that was unacceptable to many.

“We split on that,” said Hilgers. “We then began looking really outside the box at renting the bay and bringing in bleachers.”

But Hilgers said costs for that were prohibitive, given the necessity of bringing in seating and a sound system.

Ultimately, Hilgers said students, their families and staff chose to seek a site closer to home in Pacific Beach.

“At first, parents were not happy about doing it (graduation) at Clairemont High,” Hilgers said. “There really wasn’t another viable, cost-effective choice.”

“[The parents] finally came around on it,” he said, adding it helped that he had a good rapport with Clairemont High’s principal, Dr. Jennifer Roberson.

“She said, ‘Let me know if I can help,’” said Hilgers.

“Dr. Roberson and her staff have been very accommodating, helping with logistics,” Hilgers said, adding it’s a big relief to everyone that using Clairemont High for graduation worked out.

“The kids are just happy to graduate,” said Hilgers, adding half-jokingly, “You could put them on the moon and they’d be happy to have a spot.”

Jerrilyn Goldberg, MBHS 2014 senior class president said the final decision to graduate at Clairemont High finally came down to “being practical about our choice.”

“Clairemont High School,” she said, “is a perfectly acceptable location for us considering it's close enough to our school that we can easily transport decorations and students … the stadium seats significantly more people than our old bleachers so we can allow students to purchase as many tickets as they need. … This location will allow graduation to be a community celebration available to more who may want to attend.”

With everything else, is it a coincidence then that the 2014 graduation ceremony is being held on Friday, June 13?

That’s a good — not a bad — omen, noted Hilgers, pointing out MBHS’s Class of 2014 is one to overcome.

“Every year you say it’s a great class, but what makes this class very unique is its collegiality and team approach,” said Hilgers. “This is truly an ensemble group. They really support each other. I can’t but help but be struck by the lack of egos. They’re really committed to each other.”

Hilgers is confident the Class of ’14 will go far.

“I’m very proud of them,” he said. “Kids in this group are going to be making some significant differences on our lives.”

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