Despite the amount of fun SeaWorld has to offer for prom, many controversies and rumors have been spreading around school, some regarding Westview.
A petition concerning Poway Unified School District and SeaWorld was created by Zacharias Affolter, a junior student attending Westview High. “Remove School Functions from SeaWorld” has gained 1,963 signatures, supporting the movement to end all future activities between PUSD and SeaWorld. Affolter specifically states in the petition that “This is NOT about changing Mt. Carmel’s prom, although I would be happy if that were one of the outcomes”.
When contacted, Affolter was very clear with his intentions of starting the petition.
Affolter has spent years researching the “issues” regarding SeaWorld.
“I have been an activist long before Blackfish came out and have put in a great deal of research – more than I have for school papers – on this issue for both sides,” Affolter said.
Some of the concerning topics that Affolter has researched range from dolphin slaughters in Taiji at the hand of the captive industry (not SeaWorld) to the health concerns of the creatures at SeaWorld.
“While SeaWorld engages in rescue and release efforts, which are important, the fact that they have said nothing about this slaughter, continue to spread lies and misinformation, and keep intelligent beings in small, confined spaces cannot be overlooked”, Affolter said, “they are fed Tagamet – a pill used to treat stress and ulcers – with their daily diet…SeaWorld continues to argue that their whales are healthy and happy. In the wild, no cetacean needs a drug to be healthy”.
Affolter stresses his intent about SeaWorld.
“I do not want SeaWorld shut down, but for them to change their business model. They could be so much more effective than what they are now in conservation and education,” Affolter said.
Even though Affolter himself disagrees with SeaWorld’s activities, he does not want to directly affect MC’s choice of prom.
“I do not think prom should be changed unless the majority of the student body at MC is willing to,” Affolter said.
Recently, PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) has contacted MC, saying that they offer to pay for our entire Prom if we move it to another location. PETA has been passing out flyers to students walking home, expressing their beliefs and wishes to move the Prom venue from SeaWorld.
Despite the rumors, Affolter did not contact PETA for “help”.
“While I am grateful for PETA’s assistance, I did not contact them. Nowhere on my petition has it ever said that I want MC’s prom changed. They contacted MC on their own accord. I had nothing to do with it,” Affolter said.
Although MC’s juniors and seniors have been surrounded by debate and rumors, a majority of the students are excited for May 31st.
“Even though there are many controversial issues regarding the location of prom this year, for me I think it’ll be fun! SeaWorld is a cool place…I cannot wait to watch the fireworks towards the end of prom because for me it’ll symbolize the ending of my high school career and a new beginning,” senior Daryl Legaspi said.
Many students also see the venue as a great chance for an unforgettable evening.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us as seniors to have such a memorable night at a place where we’ve made so many memories as kids,” senior Riayn Harris said.
As of now, MC’s prom is still scheduled to be held at SeaWorld despite the many efforts and disagreements, and students are nevertheless excited for an amazing night.