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70+ mistakes to learn one lesson

Part of making mistakes is recognizing them, correcting them and looking ahead with a tempered wisdom.
Rest assured, this editor’s viewpoint has been changed completely by the realization that more than 70 graduates from Ennis High School’s class of 2010 were left out of this year’s graduation edition, a community service the Ennis Daily News has published annually for longer than the longest active employees at the paper can rightly remember.

You’d think that by this point, executing such an important recognition for the students of EHS would come relatively easily. It’d seem like the district or school would just print or e-mail the school’s list of seniors, bring by the photos for those who had their pictures taken on picture day, and voila. That was not what happened this year, or last.

On our end, handling and confirming hundreds of names (add to that scores more graduates we included who earned diplomas at Palmer High School) is not as easy as it sounds on a deadline. Add to that the compounding deadlines of daily editions of the Ennis Daily News and the latest edition of the InsideENNIS Magazine. Still, those complications should not have caused such a gross misrepresentation of the actual size of the 2010 senior class of Ennis High School.

The newspaper’s failure is printed in indelible ink. Not so apparent are the internal problems to which only the purveyors of the information we printed can lay claim. It’s a hectic time for the school district, surely. The end of the year looms ahead of the administration officials at the high school and the school district alike, and preparations for graduation — speeches, seating charts, ceremony, and more — make interfacing with us here at the EDN likely a pain in the neck.

None of this makes a whit of difference to the more than 70 students whose names were omitted from this edition. It’s an embarrassment, and quite frankly appalling.

The students of EHS deserve better than that after putting in years of work, years of effort chasing the grade and bubbling their way through the barrage of standardized testing that sits in the path of a hopeful graduate.

Starting in mid-May, we began corresponding with the district by phone and e-mail, looking for names and photos of graduating seniors. What we got back was a reassurance that at least three different people would be getting back with us with all of the information we needed.

Curiously, the list we received prior to graduation did not come from the district or Ennis High School, instead from the photographer who took the lion’s share (no pun intended) of the senior portraits for the graduating class. That is the way it has worked for some years, as well.

That list of names and photos was woefully incomplete.

In fact, not until after publication of the edition did we receive a complete list of graduating seniors from the EISD, and only after a formal request was submitted again after phone calls started coming in from irate parents.

Not only did we not get complete information from the photographer, it looks like we actually ended up running students who were not in fact graduates.

We know there were seniors who were not able to graduate with the class this year because of test scores, and it seems that, by comparing the lists from the photographer and the late list from the district, we managed to include them.

On top of that, an 11th hour e-mail from the district provided us with the wrong information about the valedictorian and salutatorian at the high school, which was then reprinted on the cover of the edition. Our apologies have been expressed to Katelyn Dolezalik and Andrew Hejny, but it’s appropriate to say it again.

No doubt there was communication failure on this side of the fence — perhaps it needs to be absolutely clear that, even in the absence of photographs for individual students, their names will still run. They deserve that much. Looking at what we ran versus what the district eventually gave us, the omitted seniors are:

Nadia Dina Ahmad, Euvina Charizma Aikens, Ana Miriam Alfaro, Ismael Alvarado, Alyssa Gabrielle Arteaga, Blanca Vivana Avila, Juvencio Avila, Jasmin Cardona, Amy Nicole Carney, Olivia Feliz Castanon, Tomas Chavez, Kimberly Dawn Cummings, Donderius O’Keith Daniels, Zane Alan Davis, Roy Howard Dean, Ryan Rasheed Dubose, Robyn Gene Evans, Semthia Vontris Filder, Michael Joseph Fladerland Jr., John Travis Tremelle Florence, Rosalee Rose Fortune, Jorge Garcia, Miguel Angel Garcia, Charles Lawrence Garza, Eustorgio Gomez, Kyle Racha Guinyard, Xavier Dontrel Harris, Christypher Cian Harvey, Taquindalyn De’shel Hearne, Drew Joshua Henderson, Christiane Hernandez, Santos Thomas Hernandez, Kellum Tinsley Holley, Jasmine Renae Horton, Deaven Demontry Jones-Dixon, Chelcee Mashell Juricek, Alexandra Landeros, Favian Lopez, Thomas Taylor Macias, Alexandra Gabrielle Martinez, Michael Mata, Briseyda Mendoza Rios, Francisco Javier Muniz, Rebecca Ann Nally, Manuel Ortega, Mercedes Ortega, Ruben Ortega, Gabriel Parra, Robert Anthony John Pechal, John Tanner Phillips, Gerardo Villegas Ramirez, San Ricardo Ramirez Jr., Christopher Demond Randel, Corey Ray Reyes, Paul Vincent Reyna, Idelfonso Rios, Jason Matthew Rios, Marissa Marina Rivas, Johnny Ray Salas, Gerardo Salazar, Ivan Salazar, Jorge Sanchez, Trevor Alexander Sanford, Sergio Serrano-Cervantez, Desirea Matriece Thompson, Javier Francisco Valles, Bryan Villa, Hannah Leigh Walker, Tiffany Katherine Watson, Clayton Dijon Webb, Colby Brock Wilson and Miguel Angeil Zepeda.

The only thing left to do from where we sit is formally lodge a request for the 2010-11 list of graduating seniors now, so we can get it right and spare the community, the district and the newspaper this kind of embarrassment next year.

Nick Todaro remembers the excitement of finding his name in the list of graduates from Caddo Magnet High School in Shreveport, La., that ran in the Shreveport Times. He can be reached at nick@ennisdailynews.com.

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Posted by on Jun 16 2010. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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