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After flip-flop, Merced High graduation to stay at Merced College

The announcement came over the loud speaker just before lunch:

Merced High School's Class of 2009 would graduate at Merced College.

Everyone rejoiced.

"A lot of classes were cheering," said Kaeli Nabor-Rios. "Everyone was very happy."

The news came six days after school principal Mary Black announced at a senior class meeting that graduation would be moved from the college's spacious stadium to the high school's freshman football field.

After the announcement, students were furious, spreading the news to their parents over the lunch hour.

Some students even planned for a walk-out protest Tuesday. The protest never took hold with the student body.

District assistant superintendent Raynee Daley said the decision to choose Merced College as a site came after an administrators meeting yesterday.

Daley said Merced High School administrators had been looking for ways to reduce the cost of the event by holding it on campus. That plan was scrapped after it became clear that new lighting would not be installed in time.

Daley also said that the cost of renting space at Merced College had not increased, as students said they were told at the senior meeting.

Merced College President Ben Duran said Merced High was charged only $1,400 for last year's event to cover the costs of security, custodial services, lighting and power.

"That's what we would charge anyone," Duran said. "We just charge the out-of-pocket costs."

The school has been graduating its seniors at Merced College since 1977, Daley said