Teen poses with his cat for senior yearbook photo

This is a story about a young man and his love for his cat. Fox Carolina News reported the story September 12, and I thought it a good discussion piece.

Draven Rodriguez with Mr. Bigglesworth. Photography by Vincent Giordano Trinacria Photography
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Draven Rodriguez with Mr. Bigglesworth. Photography by Vincent Giordano Trinacria Photography

Draven Rodriguez is a senior at Schenectady High School in New York. Draven smuggled his cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, into his school to have his senior photo made holding the cat. Unfortunately, those in charge of the school don’t have the same high opinion of Mr. Bigglesworth as does Draven. He’s so determined to have the photo taken with a laser background (what cat doesn’t like lasers), that he’s started an online petition here just in case. Draven explains

“Hi all. This is my photo that should be going into the yearbook, but we know how finicky the school systems can be. I’m hoping that with enough signatures, my school simply can’t turn this down.To clarify, the school HAS NOT YET DECLINED this photo. This is my pre-emptive strike just in case such a thing were to happen. I wanted as many backers as possible before the deadline of September 15th. Photo creds to Vincent Giordano, who took and edited this photo.”

School district spokeswoman Karen Corona isn’t happy about Draven wanting to be remembered with his cat. I personally think we’re a bit past that now, since word has gone viral so Mr. Bigglesworth will be allowed to hold a place of honor next to his purr-son on the primary page for seniors. Karen says there are other places in the yearbook the photo could be placed, and believes uniformity should be observed in the senior portrait section.

While it may seem wrong for schools to decide on whether pets are welcome in school yearbooks, keep in mind many schools are now “doctoring” photos, especially of female students wearing provocative, low-cut blouses. It would appear efforts to express your personality and not be afraid to be seen as different does have it’s limits. So much for building confidence by standing up for what you believe in. Even in high school, there’s someone ready to tell you what you’re doing doesn’t conform to society’s standards.

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The school still hasn’t made a decision on whether Mr. Bigglesworth can be seen in the senior section of the yearbook, or whether he’ll have to take a backstage seat in one of the other yearbook sections. Schenectady High says they’ll be weighing their final decision based on future consequences. I guess it would tempt other to include their cat or dog in a school photo in the future. There was a case in June 2013 when a retiring comfort dog named Prince made it into his own slot in a high school yearbook.

How do you feel about this young man and his cat? Should he be the only one holding a cat in his senior photo? Is the school going too far, or are boundaries necessary? Your comments are welcome.

Story on Fox News

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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13 Responses

  1. Sharon Duffy says:

    Please remove the first two sentences.. I thought they had been erased…

    I think it may spark a great new trend amongst teens, and school age kids. As an animal advocate, I am encouraged by it. Some may never have thought of having a pet, but may appreciate the fact that someone thinks enough of their pet ,to be photographed with it, on their Senior Page. Let this young man go down in the school’s history, as being a innovator. Since most Senior pictures are taken during the summer, there can be a scheduled picture day, for those who wish to be photographed with their pet. They can go home right afterward, with their beloved pet. Pets should be on a leash, or in a cage. The shots would of course be taken outdoors. I love the idea.
    This worked at an Elementary School,( Ashton Elementary) right here in Florida. It was a ” Introduce Your Pet Day”. It worked out beautifully. Parents came with the pets, the last few hours, after lunch. All was held outdoors,with cages and leashes. Teens of course, would be a lot more responsible.. Why not?

    • Sharon, I am not sure what happened here. Sorry. I have removed your earlier comment as it is a duplication but when edit the comment it is not there! Strange. Thanks for visiting.

  2. Michael says:

    Draven has been offered a spot on the principal’s page so he achieved his objective. The photo will be supported with a plea for animal rescue and adoption.

  3. Kylee says:

    Wow Wish I had of thought of that When I was at School. How Awesome.

  4. Dee (Florida) says:

    I find this adorable.
    But, I think Dan’s idea is good, that kids apply to have themselves photographed with something. And, the pics scattered throughout the yearbook.
    Why didn’t we think of that?

  5. I honestly think that the idea to place is pictuer in the year book in anohter place is a great idea, but I also see how this could open a huge can of worms. I would of loved to have Nicky in one of my school pictures, but imagine what else kids would want to bring in if it were allowed. I say let kids apply to have pix taken with their pet’s for a special section of the year book and have those pix taken at a different time then the others with a professional that knows how to photograph animials and people. That way you wouldn’t have lines of people with their animals waiting all day for a picture. You’d have allergies to deal with, people who are afraid of certain animals (snakes or spiders anyone?) etc. I love the photo and Mr. Bigglesworth is gorgeous, I just think they need to make an informed decision about how kids can safely do this in the future.

    • Nice idea Dan. I love to see this guy with his cat. I think it is fantastic. A boost for the cat and he has guts. But I am not that familiar with how college facebook work so perhaps it is not that unusual to demand this sort of thing. I guess the photos have to be standardised for various reasons. The American college facebooks I see are rows of head and shoulder pictures.

  6. Jayme says:

    I find the photo done in good taste. It is definitely a tribute to the love this young man finds in his friend, Mr. Bigglesworth! I think that alone should fall under some sort of classification! More often than not, we always read of horror stories of animals being discarded as trash and worse. Here we see a photo and a story of a young man that places his love to the highest degree, that being immortalized in a picture with his friend seems paramount! I see so much more to this photo than just pushing the envelope! I hope the photo makes it through its final stages of acceptance! Did he violate some serious school policy? A small infraction in my view. A small price to pay for such a warm and compassionate remembrance. As this young man moves forward, he obviously holds his bond with his friend in high esteem and that should be commended, not tainted. I understand rules must be in place, just wait till this picture goes through to start enforcing future senior pictures. hahaha. Props to this young man and his strong bond he shares with Mr. Bigglesworth! Clearly, no one was hurt in the making of this photo! High five!

    • I am in complete agreement with you. To me it is a very enlightened idea. I think he is a smart and decent person. He deserves praise as far as I am concerned. I hope he starts a trend and pushes the envelope back permanently. Change the rules although I am not familiar with the rules concerning college facebooks (is that what they are called?).

      He could have held his cat a little better though 😉 I am nit-picking. I’d never hold my cat like that unless I was picking him up out of his cat carrier (one that opens from the top).

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