Crew seniors miss graduation for national race
“It’s the decision between staying here to be recognized for having graduated versus going to earn something else to be recognized for,” senior Elena Drews said.
Drews, the only senior of the lightweight 8 boat, missed the senior cruise and graduation. Drews went to nationals her sophomore year and wanted to return after she didn’t qualify for the race her junior year.
“My parents were totally supportive of me going to nationals,” said Drews. “They both know how important crew is to me.”
“People who don’t do crew don’t really understand how difficult it is. Qualifying for nationals is a ridiculously hard and incredible thing to accomplish,” said senior Jason Nazarian.
The other members of the lightweight boat, rowers under 130 pounds, were also supportive of Drews’s decision.
“Graduation is a really big deal, and we would still be able to go to nationals as a boat. I’m glad that she chose to go with us,” junior Caroline Ayanian said.
However, not everyone was supportive of Drews’s decision to skip graduation.
“I’ve been looking forward to graduation since I was a kid, and so has my family; it’s a milestone,” said senior Briana Mele. “There are summer and college nationals too, but high school graduation only happens once in a lifetime.”
“I get a lot of people, friends and teachers who tell me, ‘Graduation’s really important; if I was your parent, I would never let you do that.’ There’s definitely a lot of mixed feelings,” Drews said.
After Drews returned from nationals, where she won fourth place with her lightweight 8 boat, she collected her high school diploma.
Vice Principal Allyson Mizoguchi also supports the crew seniors’ decision.
“If I were the parent, I would give them the choice and support their choice,” she said.