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Yosemite High students decry decision to combine ceremonies

Several students at Yosemite High School are upset that they'll share their graduation with Merced Adult School and Independence High School students.

Yosemite High student Chris Madayag criticized lumping the three schools together at the June 1 commencement.

"It's unfair. We should have our own time to shine," Madayag said. "I'm not the only one who is upset. In the past we've had a separate graduation."

Madayag said about 100 students briefly protested the changed graduation plans Wednesday about 12:30 p.m. on G Street near the campus before they were told to return to class.

Yosemite High Principal Claudia Anderson said they've planned a special celebration for Yosemite, Independence and adult school graduates. The 7 p.m. graduation will be at Don Odishoo Field at Merced College.

"One of the benefits is we don't have to limit participation by family members and friends," Anderson said. "There's plenty of room at the stadium for family members."

Yosemite High student Alan Rojas echoed Madayag's sentiments, saying it's unfair to place the schools together, and he doesn't want to graduate with adults and the other school.

"We're planning a beautiful celebration for them," Anderson said. "It will be beautiful visually. Each school will have its own color."

Yosemite High usually graduates about 125 students, and Independence and adult school each have about 75 graduates. Past graduations have been separate affairs for each campus.

Anderson said Yosemite High also will hold a separate campus celebration for students receiving scholarships and awards for perfect attendance, athletic achievements and the "Character Counts" program.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or