Class of 2020 finds creative ways to mark graduation during COVID-19 pandemic
HALIFAX -- Grade 12 students across the Maritimes will miss out on the pomp and circumstance that traditionally accompanies high school graduation, due to restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
While students in the graduating class of 2020 may not be able to gather in their caps and gowns, efforts are underway to ensure they get the recognition they deserve.
Maria Brown and her fellow graduates at Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning, N.S. put on their prom gowns for a social media video created by a friend.
“Just being able to show everyone our dresses, the way that she put it, we won't get to wear them the traditional way, all together as seniors,” says Brown.
Schools in Nova Scotia have been closed since March break and the province announced last week that they will remain closed for the rest of the school year.
Brown says parents and educators are working together to come up with a plan to mark the milestone once COVID-19 restrictions are eased in Nova Scotia.
“The last Friday before March break, none of us really would have thought that that was the last day that we'd all be together at school,” she says.
Nicholas d'Entremont, of West Pubnico, N.S., is part of a country-wide group of Grade 12 students organizing a virtual prom next Friday.
“It's livestreamed and, essentially, what we're doing is we're giving a chance for Canadian students to celebrate their senior years together, but from apart,” says d'Entremont.
The event will feature surprise guests, including Canadian celebrities and athletes, and funds raised will go to the Kids Help Phone.
d'Entremont encourages students who haven't signed up yet to do so.
“It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I think every student should get,” he says.
Lauren Wamboldt will log into next week’s virtual prom from her home in Cole Harbour, N.S.
“(The Class of) 2020 is missing their prom and I think that's something that not any other class in the world has, except for 2020,” says Wamboldt.
“So to be able to connect with other people going through the same thing is really powerful and it helps you feel some support.”
Wamboldt says, while the virtual prom won’t be able to replace an in-person prom, she's happy to be a part of it.
“When we started senior years I was excited to graduate in 2020 because that's the coolest year ever to graduate,” she says.
“Now it's special for a whole other reason. We had to find alternative ways to celebrate the accomplishments that we've had.”
In Prince Edward Island, Premier Dennis King has created a class of 2020 grad committee, with representatives from every school on the island. The committee will work together to find a safe and memorable way to celebrate graduates.