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

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

Carmi Elementary students voted through CIVIX Students Vote. (Lesley Evans photo)
Penticton students have their say in B.C. election

Twelve schools, including Carmi Elementary participated in Student Vote

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Members of Summerland council and municipal staff were present on Oct. 22 to officially open the expanded Summerland landfill facility. From left are manager of environmental services Candace Pilling, Coun. Erin Carlson, Coun. Marty Van Alphen, acting mayor Doug Holmes, Coun. Richard Barkwill and Coun. Erin Trainer. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Changes made to entrance of Summerland landfill

Upgrades came at cost of $500,000

A truck and trailer left Reservoir Road north of Penticton earlier on Oct. 23. (Facebook)
UPDATE: Highway 3 closed east of Osoyoos

Police have re-opened Highway 33 at Idabel Lake

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is planning to implement transit service in the West Bench area in September, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Regional district to bring transit service to West Bench in 2021

Residents of area near Penticton will be consulted before plans are finalized

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Andrew Allen performed for two intimate crowds of 50 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Oct. 17. (Camillia Courts Photography)
Live events continue on North Okanagan stage

First Andrew Allen plays two sold-out shows, next up have a laugh with comedian Mike Delamont

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read