The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Balloon event gets mixed reaction


August 18, 2018

CLOVIS — Senior Marissa Cabrera, the student-body president at Clovis High School, said she wanted to create a fun event for her classmates to take photos and set a tradition for the years to come.

Critics are saying students' plans will be having an adverse effect on the environment.

Cabrera and other seniors are planning to meet at 5:45 a.m. today at Leon Williams Stadium to release balloons with their goals written on them. Since it was announced, the event has received a mixed reaction from the community.

“Release em and enjoy your year. Ignore the critics who do no wrong,” Malcolm Fuentes wrote on Facebook.

But AiLysa O’Shea discouraged the action.

“You should definitely consider finding a more environmentally friendly way to celebrate. The balloons don’t just ‘disappear,’” O’Shea posted.

Hillcrest Park Assistant Zoo Director Mark Yannotti said the balloons could pose a threat to livestock and other animals should they be ingested.

“Number one, balloons don’t decompose easily; they’re going to end up all over the place,” Yannotti said.

“If animals ingest them, sometimes they die. I don’t want my animals at the zoo to ingest balloons.”

Cabrera said she did not expect to receive such a reaction when the student council began planning the event.

“Well if I’m being honest with you, I was shocked,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera said she understands residents’ concerns about the environment, but that considering the amount of littering that already goes on in Clovis, she did not understand why people would focus on what is in her view a seemingly insignificant amount of trash.

Clovis schools Superintendent Jody Balch agreed, saying that he did not know if five or 500 students would show up to today’s event.

“They’re trying to do something positive and you can spin it anyway you like. Some will spin it in a positive manner, some will spin it as trashing up the world,” Balch said. “There may be more balloons released at a birthday party than (this) morning for all I know.”

Balch said the district will review the turnout and impact of today’s event, and make any changes that may be needed in the future.

"I’m trying to keep a positive mindset on this situation and I’m not going to let a few people ruin the experience,” Cabrera said.

“We’re still planning on doing it (this) morning and if people are not wanting to go, we’re not forcing them. It’s just something fun to do for our high school. If they don’t want to go for (the environmental) reason or for any other reason, then they don’t have to.”


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