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What's BHS Graduation Like?

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > K-12 Schools > Berkeley Public Schools > Berkeley High School > What's BHS Graduation Like?


March 2003

My son is graduating this year from BHS. I need advice from BHS parent veterans of the Greek Theater graduation experience. How long does it last and what is it like? What to bring and where to sit? How early should we get there? We will have family members ranging up to grandparents in their 80s. Any wisdom that will help make the event more comfortable would be much appreciated. Thanks! CS


Wear a sun hat, bring water, bring a cushion to sit on, bring binoculars, expect to stay for a few hours. Come early if you want a seat close to the stage. I considered bringing the toddler but didn't and was VERY VERY glad I didn't - it's a long time to sit. My mother came, had to get up and walk around after a while, so we were glad we sat up high in the back near an easy exit. Many people were dressed up and I think my son appreciated that his mom and grandmother had on dresses and hats. My son graduated two years ago. I was expecting the worst - I had heard for years that the BHS graduation was a rowdy scene -- my experience with elementary and jr. high graduation was unbearable. However, I was pleasantly surprised. It was pretty organized and everyone - students and audience - were wonderful. By midway through the ceremony I felt very proud of Berkeley High and what it represents, and some of the students' speeches brought tears to my eyes. My son the young cynic, and his mom the old cynic, were hugging each other deliriously by the end. BHS Mom
If you plan on attending BHS graduation this year here are some tips.
First, plan on arriving early as parking is difficult. You will probably have to walk 5-6 blocks from your car to the Greek Theatre.
Most importantly, DRESS WARMLY and in layers. It can become foggy, damp, windy and cold even if it was sunny that afternoon.
Lastly, most seats are bleachers, so if you have a seat back or something padded to sit on it will be more comfortable.
If you come prepared, it can be a very entertaining and most enjoyable evening. Marcie
Hi, My daughter graduated from BHS last year, so here is what I remember (and wish I had known.)

I got info on the timing by sending an email to one of the co-Principals, Laura Leventor (sp?) - it may change from year-to-year, but last year the ceremony was very punctual and really started and ended when she said (I don't recall the hours now.)

Choice of seating - center, up to midway up the height of the seats. Last year, the kids got their diplomas center-stage, and then walked to one side of the stage back to their seats. They called the kids in two groups, alternating with one from the beginning of the alphabet, and one from the end of the alphabet. Probably try to get there an hour before the start of the ceremony. Parking is horrible, so you would want to have the grandparents dropped-off with most of the group to save seating, while the driver parks and walks (probably a long distance). If you have a video or still camera with a good zoom, that's the best way to take photos, since the theatre is huge. Binoculars are also helpful.

Be prepared for sun and fog, since it can start out sunny and get foggy and cold later (blankets, sunhats, layered clothing). Also bring pillows to sit on, and plastic water bottles and snacks.

At the end of the ceremony, the athletic among you may want to go down to the mosh-pot of kids near the stage to get photos of your son & friends, and get close to their enthusiasm. If you come in two cars, some of your group could leave early to avoid the traffic jam after the ceremony.

I thought the whole experience was amazing - definitely not personal, but it's dramatic to see the whole class come together like that. Congratulations and enjoy! Jil


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