My Graduation Ceremony – Open Letter To DCSD

Georgia Wescott is a talented photographer and a senior at Chamblee Charter High School (CCHS). Next year she’ll be attending the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to study photography and graphic design.
She has posted an Open Letter to the DeKalb County School District with her thoughts about the venue selected by the senior administration without input from the local CCHS community. Given the 110 likes, 2 shares and 27 comments she has received in the last 24 hours on her Facebook page, I don’t think she is alone.
What are your thoughts that I can share with the school administration and board members?

Georgia Wescott
Senior @ Chamblee Charter High School

Open letter to DeKalb County School System:
How are you going to move our graduation against our will and then make us, the students who are graduating, pay to attend it? On top of that, how are you going to hold it at a time where no teachers or other students can attend because it’s on the last day of school immediately after school gets out all the way in downtown Atlanta? At this point I’m not even looking forward to my own graduation because the fact that it costs money has taken away money from some of our senior activities that we’ve been looking forward to.

On Facebook, Ms Wescott comments,

They moved our graduation to the world congress center which costs $35 per student. To make costs cheaper, they took $20 out of each seniors dues so we only had to pay $15 extra. However, now we don’t have money for food on senior night on friday. On top of that, most teachers can’t attend graduation as it is on the last day of school at 4PM and it’s almost impossible to leave school and get downtown in that amount of time. Not the best circumstances.

Graduation Schedule – DeKalb Schools Class of 2017
April 13, 2017 – Dr. Green created a District Graduation Task Force to begin looking at venues, available dates and costs for specific locations to house district ceremonies.

DeKalb Schools ESPLOST

All Graduation Ceremonies At Georgia World Congress Center
October 11, 2016 – All DeKalb County high school graduations will be held during the week of May 22-27, 2017. Here is the school schedule.

11 responses to “My Graduation Ceremony – Open Letter To DCSD

  1. Eric Oliver

    Here is a fact … you are not part of the solution Stan.

  2. sent via Facebook
    This is ridiculous, plain and simple. In an attempt to give “everyone” a shot at a graduation in a non-religious venue, the geographically ginormous DeKalb School District chooses the GWCC and forces every high school to hold their event there?
    Come on!!!! Where’s the common sense? Traveling from Chamblee to the GWCC at the end of a work day is a terrible option, especially when a school like Chamblee already has a non-religious venue.
    This is just another example of why a school district like DeKalb is just TOO LARGE to make any sense. Decisions like this are silly. I feel sorry for all the families that must make complicated plans to fling themselves from Chamblee to the far side of downtown ATL.
    Where has common sense gone?

  3. Unincorporated Decatur Mom

    With much sacrifice I have been successful in moving both my children from DeKalb County Schools into low cost, high quality “religious” private schools. They are both much happier now. SMH at DCSS.

  4. chamblee getting screwed

    That’s ok – they will have to stick it in Mercedes benz stadium in the coming years given the size of some these high schools.

  5. sent via Facebook
    It’s ridiculous. Why not have the ceremonies in the HS gym or auditorium? Yes, it’s possible seating might be limited, and parking in some neighborhoods may be difficult for ONE day, but teachers and principals would be able to attend; no costs to rent a facility or for parking. This nonsense seems driven to allow Dr. Greene to make some personal appearance at each ceremony. I’m willing to bet that most students and family members couldn’t pick him out of a crowd – so let’s get back to local ceremonies, please. We used to do local ceremonies at the HS, then someone wanted to do outdoor ceremonies so DHS got moved to the N. DeKalb Stadium, now it’s some cavernous facility in downtown Atlanta.

  6. Bwaaaaaaa!!
    So you have to pay $15 and endure a bit of traffic (or take MARTA) to go to a world class venue for a once in a lifetime event?
    She sounds like exactly the kind of self entitled individual employers will NOT be hiring.

  7. sent via Facebook
    I saw that graduation was downtown and didn’t realize that this is a new thing. I thought it was weird that DeKalb/Dunwoody graduation was downtown and not in Dekalb. Why do all schools have to follow suit if their plan was fine. Why can’t the ones that need it use this plan. That is what Gwinnett does. Some have graduation at Infinite Energy Arena and others have it elsewhere. And charging to graduate? Public education is free. Yes – senior dues but to tack on another fee? How is that equitable when lower socioeconomic families can’t offers dues? Not right DeKalb!

  8. sent via Facebook
    What’s really the underlying cause of your concern? I love that you’re concerned about unprivileged socioeconomic families now, but when it is inconvenient for you. The truth of the matter is where were y’all for the last four years? Did you provide rides to those peers whose parents work late and cannot come in time for picking them up? How about their clothing, food, computer access, not limited to lack of internet access? Did it ever cross your mind when there were other events such as prom, homecoming, t-shirt sales, games, sports dues, club dues?

  9. Class of 2016 Chamblee grad here:
    Georgia (or any 2017 grad), if you’re reading this, let me just say that I’m so so sorry. This entire situation is absolutely asinine. Nobody- poor or rich- should have to pay for their own damn graduation. For the last few years, the DeKalb cartel has worked to systematically undermine the academic and personal liberties and aspirations of the parents, teachers, and students who have the misfortune of being stuck in what has got to be one of the worst school districts in America. I’m sorry that you have gotten nothing except broken promises, corruption, and bureaucracy when all you really wanted is a quality education. When you get handed that diploma, turn around and never look back. I promise that you’ll find that things are way better in college.
    Thanks for posting this, Stan. If you really mean what you say, you’ll hopefully do more than just “pass this up the chain” and hope for change. This is a problem that deserves more than just words.

  10. BuildItAndtheyWillCome

    The superintendent is the one who decided this graduation schedule, not Stan. Have you emailed or written a letter to Dr. Green? Too many people only care about a football field and nothing else. They blame Stan for a delay in a turf field. Blame Dan Drake and the pathetic central office planners for your woes. The DHS sports dream-team should NOT have been collecting funds until a solid plan was in writing. Ms. PT and Co. have collected hundreds of thousands of dollars, without a written agreement and timeline from DeKalb, and have nothing to show for it and they blame Stan. This is borderline fraud/deception on their part. It’s easy for the local Ossoffs to blame Jesters, because Jesters don’t play well in the sandbox of DeKalb politics. But guess what – everyone in the DeKalb sandbox gets sand in their eyes. Back when we had push-over board reps what did we get? We got two elementary schools less than a mile apart. We got a 4th 5th grade learning academy. We got no trailer relief. We got overcrowding, we got trailers, we got shitty remodel jobs, and school expansions that were too small from day one. And we had massive fraud and jail time for some. At least now we have someone exposing the crooks. If you want a nice turf field and fancy lockers rooms, go to a private school. My oldest is graduation soon at DHS but my 8th grader going private. enough is enough.

  11. Stan Jester

    Videos of DeKalb County School District commencement ceremonies now available online
    The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) is now sharing videos of its 2017 commencement ceremonies held at the Georgia World Congress Center.