Pandemic sinks Modesto students’ hopes for end-of-year yacht party; district, parents say vendor no longer communicating with them

Local News

MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) — This week was not quite the graduation Enochs High School seniors like Ryan Orona had imagined, but many have learned to roll with the punches.

“It’s kind of a bummer but I’ve realized that, like, not thinking about it helped a lot,” Orona said. “Like, I found more things to focus on, like, I started working out and stuff.”

However, on top of altered events, many Enochs seniors and their parents are now coping with emptier wallets.

“Refund the students. I mean, we’ve worked hard all year, we kinda had our year robbed from us and I think the least that we could get is our money back,” Orona said.

Each class of 2020 senior had paid about $100 bucks to party on a yacht.

A spokeswoman with Modesto City Schools says the company parents hired — Commodore Cruises and Events — stopped communicating with the school district. Instead of giving families their $10,000 deposit back, Commodore offered to reschedule once shelter-in-place is over.

But because many of the students may be moving away, educators say this is not an option.

According to the Modesto City Schools District, their legal counsel last spoke to the company’s president on May 26. At that time, the president told them they no longer have the money because they spent it on repairs.

Parents say the company has a moral obligation to fulfill.

“We are small business owners and I couldn’t imagine not returning emails and phone calls, and just taking people’s money for services not rendered,” parent Diana Ismail said.

“We have used them before and we were gonna use them again years later,” parent Piret Leonetti said. “So, it’s really sad that they’re not willing to work with us.”

As for Ryan, he now has his high school diploma, but he was looking forward to one last shindig with his high school friends.

“Moreso just spending time with my friends there. It’s kinda like making a memory with them, so I was looking forward to that,” he said.

His sights are now set on his future.

“To be in the film industry is really important to me,” he said. “That’s been a dream of mine for quite a long time.”

FOX40 contacted Commodore on Friday and did not get a response by the afternoon deadline.

The school district also wanted to make clear that no school district funds were used to pay for this event. The boat cruise was paid for by high school parents and students.

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