Summerland Secondary School principal Alan Stel presented high school diplomas during a series of small ceremonies. A full video of the graduation events will be available on the Summerland Review website on June 26 in the evening. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

COLUMN: Graduation during the time of COVID-19

This year, the traditional graduation ceremonies could not proceed

Graduation day is a milestone celebration for Grade 12 students.

It marks the completion of high school and more importantly, it is a rite of passage into the world of adulthood.

The formal ceremonies and the celebrations afterwards recognize this transition and honour the graduates.

It’s a significant achievement and as a result, it calls for a special time of celebration.

This year has been different.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional events could not proceed, but the students’ accomplishments still deserved to be recognized.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Summerland graduates receive diplomas

READ ALSO: Summerland school to present video of graduation ceremonies

Teachers at Summerland Secondary School and a committee of parents stepped up to make graduation as special and memorable as possible, despite the COVID-19 directives and limitations.

Gatherings of more than 50 are prohibited at present. This presents a challenge when the school has around 110 graduating students, and when each of those students have family members and friends who want to be present for the formal ceremony.

There was no way to hold a traditional graduation and still comply with the limitations on crowd sizes and the physical distancing directives.

Rather than trying to fight and petition to have an exception, the organizers of this year’s graduation chose to work within the parameters, even though this meant completely restructuring the ceremonies.

By doing so, they have demonstrated they were willing to try something new. They have also shown they were willing to make great efforts for the graduating students.

Graduation this year was not the same as in previous years.

In the past, it would be a large event at the arena, but this year, the ceremonies were held in the high school gym, with groups of seven students receiving their diplomas in a series of mini-ceremonies.

The complete graduation events, including the presentation of diplomas, the valedictorians’ speeches and the presentation of awards and bursaries, will be online on the evening of June 26. Visit summerlandreview.com to view the complete video.

The class picture of the graduates also had to be set up differently from in previous years.

Instead of having all the students together at once for this picture, groups of students were photographed and the images were later merged together.

In short, every effort was made to give these graduating students the best possible send-off, under extremely challenging circumstances.

I was at the school to see some of the mini-ceremonies, and I have been talking with teachers and members of a parents’ committee about this year’s graduation events.

It has been inspiring to see what they were able to do within the limitations they had to face. The mini-ceremonies offered a warm and intimate atmosphere.

Setting up this year’s graduation ceremonies has been difficult. The entire concept has had to be reworked and restructured for this year.

In the future, the graduates of 2020 will remember a graduation experience unlike that of previous classes.

They will remember the small ceremonies and physical distancing requirements during this pandemic.

They will remember the unique challenges of taking the class picture.

And most of all, they will remember the significant efforts that were made in order to give them a memorable graduation and rite of passage during a time when previous traditions could not be maintained.

John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusGraduation 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Column: One parenting book certainly doesn’t fit all

Like the fingerprints they are born with – each child is different.… Continue reading

Influx of tourists helping to nurse Penticton’s economy back to health

The city has seen visitors multiply tenfold in recent weeks

Two vehicle crash on Highway 97 in Penticton

The crash happened before 3:30 p.m. in front of the Lakeside Inn and Suites

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department receives $25k grant

Money used on a truck with low volume, high pressure water pump to fight wildfires

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

Most Read