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Roosevelt High principal apologizes for yearbook message

Principal of the Roosevelt HIgh School, Dr. Stephen

Principal of the Roosevelt HIgh School, Dr. Stephen Strachan, gives his morning announcement in the main office on Sept. 9, 2013. Credit: Steve Pfost

Roosevelt High School's principal apologized Tuesday for allowing to go into print a yearbook message to 2014 graduates that borrowed, almost verbatim, from the words a California high school principal wrote to his school's graduates last year, complete with the California school's name.

"I received permission to quote from one of my colleagues," said Stephen Strachan, Roosevelt's principal.

Strachan's letter to graduates drew from a statement that Ted Barone, principal of Albany High School in Albany, California, made to his school's Class of 2013. The statement still is on the school's website.

Barone did not respond Tuesday to messages seeking his comment.

Alfred T. Taylor, vice president of the Roosevelt school board, called the matter an "unfortunate mistake that occurred" and added, "It's unfortunate that somebody thought it was newsworthy."

About 170 students are in the graduating class, he said.

Strachan, in a statement released through the Zimmerman/Edelson public relations firm, said: "I sincerely apologize to the Roosevelt community and to the class of 2014 for the inadvertent clerical error causing mistakes to be printed in the 2014 yearbook. An unedited draft of my remarks was accidentally published rather than the final version, and I take full responsibility for the oversight."

An edited version of that page currently is being printed, and each student should receive a corrected yearbook by Friday, the statement said.

Jake Mendlinger of Zimmerman/Edelson said the total cost to replace that page of the yearbook is about $800, which will come out of the principal's "discretionary fund."

Strachan's congratulatory three-paragraph message to the Class of 2014 was almost identical to Barone's three-paragraph letter to the Class of 2013 -- except for the second paragraph, in which Strachan named three Roosevelt students and their accomplishments.

Strachan's message concluded just as Barone's did, with the words "Congratulations to the Albany High School Class of 2013."

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