Peter Skene Ogden Secondary grads are getting ready to celebrate this June, but what that day looks like remains to be seen.
With the pandemic looming for the second year, many grads say they feel like they’re missing out and are disappointed in the lack of grad activities this year. Graduation ceremonies are slated for June 17-18, with students likely to be organized alphabetically over the two days, while prom is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 19.
“I think it will be an interesting experience during COVID times because of all of the restrictions, which limit us to what we can do,” said grad Emily Glen. “I think a parade would be a good experience, do as much as we can during COVID to let us have the best experience that we can.”
Students expect a reverse parade will be held at the arena, similar to last year, along with two photo booths where grads can take pictures with their family, date, or friends. Grads are hoping to make the event last three to four hours, and be able to do gifts and prizes.
However, many grads say graduation day is unlikely to live up to their expectations, especially since prom may be difficult to hold due to the new restrictions. With outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people, some grads are unsure whether it’s worth putting other people at risk when prom has been cancelled in other parts of the country and even at some B.C. high schools.
Others are unsure if they will even participate in their big day. Grad Dylan Schmidt was generally unenthused about grad, saying “we don’t really care” about the ceremony and prom, while grad student Brayden Hendry said he was “not concerned if we have one or not.”
Others, however, are still holding onto hope that they will get some sort of similar event.
Event organizers are putting together a map of a possible parade route and seeing if the RCMP will allow the grads to be in vehicles to do a grad parade around town while still allowing people to be safely socially distanced. Some are hopeful that COVID-19 will lighten up and restrictions will change, allowing people to gather outside for dinner and dance.
Student Darlyssa Chretien said she would like to see a regular parade and drawing up a map around town, allowing people to be spaced out – either in their cars or even standing on the streets – to watch as the grads pass by.
This would allow the grads to have “more of an event that will take longer than just a little drive-by on Birch Avenue,” she said, adding she thought the reverse grad last year was “just horrible.”
Chretien added she is pleased that everyone is still committed to providing a good time for graduation.
Event organizer Marsha Ried said an account has been set up at Gold Trail Recycling where the bottles can be sorted and donated to the Dry Grad account if interested and BC Liquor store is doing a “round up” fundraiser to help out the grads.
“I’m quite sad and disappointed that we’re not going to get to have a great big graduation ceremony and not for sure going to have a dance and dinner for prom,” Chretien said, “but I’m glad that we have a great committee and leaders that are hoping to let us do something if all goes well.”