San Jose Unified Middle Schools' Promotion Ceremonies Bumped by Sharks

The 8th-grade promotions had to be moved out of SAP Center and into San Jose Municipal Rose Garden because of the Stanley Cup Final schedule.

The San Jose Sharks’ hot streak is forcing five San Jose Unified District Middle School promotions out of the ice-cold SAP Center and under the blazing sun at the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden on Thursday morning and afternoon.

The Sharks’ appearance in the Stanley Cup Final means there will be ice on the floor on Thursday instead of folding chairs for the students of Burnett, Hoover, Willow Glen, John Muir and Castillero middle schools. The Rose Garden has traditionally been the graduation site for all of the district’s seniors, it’s just a new venue for the younger students this year because of the hometown playoff hockey schedule.

“Knowing that the Sharks are in the Final, we knew it was a possibility,” said Jason Willis, assistant superintendent of community engagement and accountability, adding that the district doesn’t mind the shuffling because “it’s a great thing for the community, it really is an exciting event.”

Willis recognizes that the timing is not optimal, with the NBC Bay Area Weather Team forecasting temperatures approaching 90 degrees for Thursday. Meteorologist Rob Mayeda said people will want to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.

The district will have nurses on hand to watch for anyone with signs of heat exhaustion and San Jose police officers will direct traffic to get people in and out of the Rose Garden efficiently.

But for Zoe Venegas of Willow Glen Middle School, the problem is less the heat and more about missing a rite of passage of walking the stage at SAP Center.

Her mother, Helene Venegas, told NBC Bay Area, “The kids are not happy. Zoe was looking forward to hearing her name over the loudspeaker and seeing her friends up on the Jumbotron.”

Venegas said each of the Sharks’ wins leading to their spot in the Stanley Cup Final elicited a groan from the otherwise cheerful 13-year-old.

Zoe’s classmate, Kela Moore, is of a different mind. His mom, Tofoi Yandall-Moore, said that he’s happy the Sharks are moving on to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time and likes the idea of having his promotion at the Rose Garden. “We can work on our tans!” he told his mother, adding that the scenery is also better among the roses.

“It’s a beautiful venue, just spectacular,” Willis said, adding that “in some ways it’ll be their entry and their exit from high school.”

Willis added he can think of one way the Sharks could take the bite out of the last-minute venue change: “It would be really great if we could have some San Jose Sharks show up to congratulate the kids on their promotion!”

If the Sharks are reading this, Zoe and Kela’s promotion is at 2 p.m. Thursday.

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