No Money, No Problem for Students-Run Graduation - NBC Southern California

No Money, No Problem for Students-Run Graduation



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    When administrators at Sierra Vista Junior High School told eighth graders there would be no graduation this year because there's no money, the students said, "No way."

    Graduation from junior high is not quite as life changing as college graduation -- but it's still an important rite of passage, and some students in Canyon Country did not want to miss out on that.

    "We worked so hard in the seventh grade and eight grade. We got all our projects done. To know that we're not going to be remembered for doing that, it kind of sucks," said Derick Quintana, one of the eighth-grade graduates.

    So a core group of kids from Sierra Vista Junior High decided not only would they have a ceremony, they would make it their ceremony.

    With the help of a dad who just happens to work on "The Tonight Show," suddenly this eight-grade class is not only getting their diplomas at a graduation ceremony, but they're getting them with bragging rights. Pomp and circumstance turned into pop and celebrity.

    Who else can claim "High School Musical's" Kaycee Stroh as commencement speaker, a performance by jazz singer Sue Raney, K-Earth 101 host Lisa Stanley, and Jerry Penacoli from "Extra!" to read the off the names of all the graduates.

    The fight for graduation turned into what some educators like to call a teaching moment, but this time the kids taught the adults a lesson.

    "If we really want something and we really are dedicated to doing it, then we're going to work hard for it," said Brianna Tomey, one of the graduation planners.

    "I'm proud of them. They've tried to put this on, on their own," said Sierra Vista Junior High principal Mark Crawford.

    On Tuesday, the students held a well-deserved pep rally to get ready for next Thursday's graduation -- the graduation they're having because they refused to take no for an answer.