The pandemic has put a damper on the pomp and circumstance of graduation, but it hasn’t stopped Yellowknife schools from marking the occasion with a little flair.
Six graduates from École Allain St-Cyr were surprised to be greeted on Friday by a convoy of students, parents, staff – and the school’s mascot – at their doorsteps.
Graduate Jack Coombs said he was “flabbergasted” by the parade of vehicles adorned with balloons, streamers, and signs.
“I was not expecting anything like this,” he said. “I genuinely thought that this graduation would go by unmarked.”
Six École Allain St-Cyr graduates were surprised with a graduation parade and ceremony Friday afternoon. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio
The parade wove throughout the city with horns honking and participants cheering at each graduate’s home.
Festivities ended at Somba K’e Park, where everyone convened for a ceremony.
“Despite Covid, what’s happening, we wanted to celebrate them in a unique way that they could remember and still enjoy their graduation,” explained Lisandre St-Amant, a high school French language arts teacher.
“I’m excited to celebrate this milestone with them.”
Students walked across a decorated trailer to receive their diplomas and have the tassels on their caps moved from one side to the other – through the use of a pointer to preserve social distancing.
They received accolades and gifts from staff as a small crowd of about 50 people watched.
Lisandre St-Amant is a French language arts teacher for grades 7 to 12 students at École Allain St-Cyr. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio
Graduates were met with a convoy of decorated vehicles Friday afternoon. Emily Blake/CBC
For Coombs, the celebration marked the end of a “long path” with lots of obstacles along the way.
“There’s definitely a sense of pride in managing to get this far,” he said.
Next, Coombs plans to head to the University of Alberta to pursue a major in biology. His eventual goal is a career in medicine.
École Allain St-Cyr’s celebration is the latest attempt by an NWT school to make graduation special despite the pandemic.
Earlier, for example, students of Yellowknife high school St Pat’s were surprised by custom signs in their yards.