This time last year, students across Calgary were preparing for their annual spring ritual: Graduation.
Now, things are a little different.
With coronavirus public health concerns, all graduations this year have either been postponed or cancelled, but that’s not stopping students from enjoying their accomplishments.
Alberta Minister of Education, Adriana LaGrange applauded the students’ fortitude in these trying times.
“I want to stress that while this situation is not ideal, you should be proud of all that you have accomplished. […] I am proud of you, your province is proud of you, and I know that your teachers, your friends and your families are proud of you.”
The Calgary Board of Education has expressed their sadness and disappointment of having to cancel graduations across the city.
In a statement on the CBE website, many high schools have decided to organize videos and online tributes for their students. But there is still a desire to get together and celebrate with friends and family.
Decisions have been made by CBE to have a non-instructional half day designed for 2019-20 graduate students to gather in the fall.
The event will be on one common day for all Calgary Board of Education high schools. More details are to come in the coming school year.
The CBE website shared the statement.
“We know that this isn’t the graduation that all of us envisioned when we started the 2019-20 school year. However, we want all of our graduates to be recognized for their accomplishment even though we can’t be together during this time.”
Other high schools across the city are doing whatever they can for their graduating students.
Calgary high schools still want to make their students feel special
The Calgary French and International School has decided theyll try to do a physical grad later in October.
They’ve got a little extra in mind, too. They’ve planned to go around to each grad’s house and deliver a surprise. They’ll also shoot photos with their family.
The Grade 12 students of CFIS received surveys to express their thoughts on how they would like to experience their graduation, even in isolation.
“The kids were really adamant that they didn’t want a virtual grad that would try to duplicate the actual experience,” said Kathy Marinakos, director of enrolment and communications at CFIS.
“It’s very personal and very much about the community and they felt that would be lost in a virtual platform,”
The school is doing multiple things for their grads this June. They have made huge banners to hang in the school’s parking lot celebrating the grads. Past alumni will also record videos for the students and congratulate them on their accomplishments.
Grade 12 student Chloe Bantle said she appreciated how the school has been handling her graduation.
“I think they did a really good job, they did a Google Hangout and they got all the grade 12’s to come on and they shared ideas with us,” Bantle said.
What can parents do for their Calgary grads?
Parents in Calgary and surrounding area are also coming together on Facebook and formed ‘Class of 2020 YYC and area Celebration Parades‘.
The organizer of the group, Sheila Whitford Norris, organized birthday drive-bys and thought the graduates also deserved something.
Norris encourages individuals to come and drive by in their cars, trucks, buses and bikes to show their love and support.
“I would love to have about 15-20 cars per parade. I ask the people who have requested a parade to invite friends and family because that makes it even more special,” Whitford Norris said.
The first celebration parades were last weekend in the northeast and northwest. They celebrated in the communities of Pineridge, Taradale, Saddleridge, Coventry, Panorama and Tuscany.