The "invocation girls", Granada High School, 1982-1983

newspaper picture
(Left to right): Diane Brown and Leslie Bennett.
Credits: This image was scanned from a newspaper clipping. If you have a copy of the original photograph, please scan it for the archive. The clipping appears to be from the Times, but the exact date is not evident. Michael Macor is credited for the photograph. The original caption read: "Diane Brown and Leslie Bennett, two of the 'invocation girls,' say they've received both hostility and support for their action. They admitted, though, the hostility has scared them."

Newspaper articles:

Invocation girls face the heat

They find adult conduct worse than students

Livermore---A husky young man wearing a Granada High T-shirt was looking for a place to sit down at Carl's Jr. fast-food restaurant. The place was crowded with students who had finished their final exams and the young man was not going to sit in the back because the "invocation girls" were there.

Most students now know the invocation girls, three young women who were sitting at a table giggling and reading each others' yearbooks. During the past two weeks, some students have taunted them, while others have supported their constitutional stand against tonight's invocation at the high school graduation.

They seem like a mismatched trio.

Diane Brown, 18, is a quiet honors student who plans to be a doctor, works at an ice cream parlor, takes calculus classes at Chabot College, and will be attending the University of California, Berkeley in the fall.

Ellen Lenbergs, 17, runs hurdles and cross country for the track team, and plans to study graphic design at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Leslie Bennett, 18, is the most talkative one in the group, works each night at McDonald's, doesn't know what she wants to do after she gets out of school, wears cross-shaped earrings and collects in a little book she carries quotations ranging from the Bible to Thomas Paine.

They were exhausted. Their conversation jumped from serious discussion of their protest to jokes about each other, their classmates and the opposite sex.

During the pat two weeks, in addition to going to .... [I do not have the rest of the article. If you do, please send me a photocopy, a scan, or a transcription.]

Invocation at Granada draws student protest

By David Boitano, staff writer

Livermore--Three Granada High school students have protested a planned invocation at the school's June 10 graduation, and Principal Jack Snodgrass said Wednesday he hasn't decided whether to allow the traditional prayer.

Also on Wedensday, seniors attending a special meeting voted 30-11 to allow Todd Ferro to deliver the invocation. But the final decision rests with Snodgrass.

"What happens at Granada High School is my responsibility." the principal said.

Students Leslie Bennett, Diane Brown and Ellen Lenbergs said use of the invocation during a school ceremony violates constitutional principles of separation of church and state.

They say they will take their case to the American Civil Liberties Union, though union official haven't decided whether they will take the case.

The students said it is impossible to have an invocation that is non-denominational in nature. If an invocation must be read, all the world's religions should be represented, Miss Lenbergs said.

The students are not protesting against Ferro, Miss Lendbergs said, but are objecting to the invocation on constitutional grounds.

"It's nothing against Todd but against the invocation itself," she said.

Most of the students at Wednesday's meeting felt that eliminating the prayer would be a violation of their rights, Miss Lenbergs said.

Members of an ad hoc senior graduation committee chose Ferro to deliver the invocation four months ago, he siad. The protesting students said they only learned about the invocation this week.

Class adviser Claude Cameron said all Granada seniors had a chance to give input on the graduation program while the committee was making decisions.

Cameron, a civics teacher who has been advising seniors for 14 years, said including an invocation at graduation has never been questioned.

"It's never been a biggie," he said.

Ferro said he wasn't sure why he was chosen to speak, though committee members may have selected him for his "strong Christian beliefs".

Though he hasn't written the invocation, Ferro said the prayer will give thanks for the students four years in high school and will ask God to watch over the graduates as they go on to a new life.

The prayer, he said, will not favor any given religion.

"I don't think prayer itself is denominational," he said.


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