Class of 2020 graduates, School District 67 (SD67) explained, will be celebrating safely.
Traditional graduation ceremonies will not take place, and instead will be pre-recorded. The district said in their regular board meeting on Monday, May 25, that they recognize the importance of these ceremonies for both staff and the community, but must follow health regulations.
At this point, pre-recorded events have been planned for all SD67 secondary schools, which will include a recording of graduates in gowns crossing the stage. The recording will be edited together to simulate a graduation ceremony.
Videographers will film five to 10 students at a time, and there will be a voice-over for awards and bursaries.
Filming will take place for Summerland Secondary School Grad on June 25, Princess Margaret Secondary School June 26/27 and Penticton Secondary School June 1-3.
Trustee Dave Stathers explained in the district’s regular board meeting on May 25 that about 1,000 people at Penticton Secondary School have signed a petition to have grad ceremonies postponed until the fall, or even next year. He further explained that students at Princess Margaret sent the district a letter, asking if they could perform their graduation ceremonies outside, while maintaining physical distancing.
“They’re showing lots of civic action, they’re protesting in a very good way, what do we say back to them, because you know what, they deserve an answer,” said Stathers.
Acting superintendent Todd Manuel said he recognizes these are tough times for all graduates. He said the district is doing the best they can, within the mandate of the heath authority.
“Given that the province continues to be under the state of emergency, and we are mandated through the health authority to follow those rules of the state of emergency, we’re really not in a place where we can find creative ways around those directives of the health authority,” said Manuel.
“It’s an unfortunate situation but we’re in the midst of a world pandemic, and we’re certainly going to do our best to acknowledge those students in the best way that we can.”