As Grade 12 students on the Sunshine Coast look forward to celebrating their achievements, the scheduled graduation ceremonies will look similar to those for the Class of 2020.
Secondary schools coordinated this week with video company Grads BC to record the ceremonies, superintendent Patrick Bocking told Coast Reporter following the May 12 Sunshine Coast School District No. 46 (SD46) meeting.
“All schools are following strict health safety protocols which means that no members of the public, including parents, may come to the sessions. The videos will be scheduled and on our Youtube channel toward the end of June,” Bocking said.
As for how much a COVID-era graduation ceremony costs, SD46’s secretary-treasurer Nicholas said there are additional costs for signs, purchasing caps and gowns and the videography service.
“Dry Graduation celebration costs are typically paid through fundraising and grad fees, but are lower than in past years due to the limited number of options available for grad celebration activities,” Weswick said.
Student trustee Abby Grunenberg told Coast Reporter via email that there was hope earlier in the school year for graduating students to have somewhat normal celebrations.
“The majority of students are disappointed but accepting that we cannot control the situation. The traditional events such as Winter Formal, Prom, Dry Grad, and many other activities were cancelled with our altered ideas declined due to safety concerns.”
Some students, she said, used the situation to their advantage, using the Sunshine Coast Online class system in a way to work while continuing their education.
“With the graduation ceremony, a lot of students are feeling a loss, desiring a more formal ceremony where we can see each other walk across the stage.”
The initial plan, she said, did include parents.
“However, two weeks before the ceremony, provincial authorities sent out new regulations for graduations, banning parents from watching their child. I was disappointed with these new regulations as were my classmates and their families,” Grunenberg wrote.
“Other students would rather have the ceremony filmed so that their elderly family members can watch safety at home and do not have to sit for the traditional three-hour long ceremony.”
While graduating students overall are feeling “a sense of loss and disappointment,” she added, “we are making the best out of our given situation.”