Graduation from secondary school is a huge milestone and the start of an exciting new chapter in life. While ceremonies again look different this year than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, staff and administrators work to ensure they are no less memorable.
At John Oliver Secondary, staff plan three ceremonies over one day. Students will enter the school through a grand entrance. They will then march, spaced out, to the auditorium for their ceremony. Students remain in their cohorts, and sit in assigned seats, with a chair between them. The ceremony includes speeches, an Indigenous performance, the traditional walk across the stage, a speech by the valedictorian, and a recessional through the auditorium foyer, which will then look different than it did when the students walked in. The students will walk outside, hopefully with cars honking, to the school parking lot to meet their families. While family members will not attend, videographers will capture all the special moments for them to watch later in the month. Principal Brent Schieman says it all promises to be a “spectacular performance.”
Similarly, at Templeton Secondary, administrators plan for graduates to line up in their cohorts, physically distanced, before heading for the auditorium, where they will also sit two seats apart. After they walk across the stage, students will head into the foyer for a picture with a grad sign. Staff also plan to set up a family photo station outside.
Students at Churchill Secondary began their graduation events on June 16 and 17 with a walk down a hallway filled with river-themed quotes, complete with a ‘waterfall’ at a staircase that included messages from teachers written on ‘water drops’. Students walked to the auditorium where they each crossed the stage. After the ceremony, students entered a celebration space set up in zones with movement in one direction. A maximum of three students attended each zone at one time. “The celebration zones in the cafeteria were really exciting for the kids,” says principal Annette Vey-Chilton. She explains they included a live band and a light display.
“The story we will tell of you, the Sir Winston Churchill class of 2021, will be one of light, strength, compassion and hope,” Vey-Chilton said to graduates. “We could not be more proud of you, of the adults that you have become, and all that you have accomplished! You have bravely gone beyond yourselves and made a difference in the lives of others – and this truly is an accomplishment that matters, really matters, in this world!”
Thank you to school administrators and staff for working to make graduation memorable, and congratulations to all the graduates of 2021!