Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School students celebrated the end of their high school careers a few years back. This spring, such formalities are in doubt because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo by BLACK PRESS)

Question mark hangs over graduation ceremonies

Students await decisions of central Alberta school jurisdictions

Central Alberta students will have to wait a little longer to find out if they will get to experience the pomp and circumstance of graduation.

Wolf Creek Public Schools superintendent Jayson Lovell said there’s no firm decision on whether graduation celebrations will be held this spring for division schools.

“There’s been conversations for sure with our principals and schools. We’re assuming there won’t obviously be a return to school before the end of June, but anything is possible at this point,” Lovell said.

He said one school has speculated about what a virtual grad could look like, but it hasn’t been explored much beyond that.

“I think our schools would look at some graduation opportunity in the fall. Two of our schools have their graduation in the fall already, so they’re fine,” Lovell said.

Elsewhere in the province, the Calgary Board of Education has already decided to cancel graduation ceremonies, banquets and school-based celebrations for the current school year.

Kathleen Finnigan, interim superintendent at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, said in a statement that any graduation plans being considered will have to follow direction from the chief medical officer of health and Alberta Education.

“This is an important day as we celebrate our students and their achievements. However, it is still too early to know how long the current situation with COVID-19 will last,” Finnigan said.


WATCH: Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School graduation

WATCH: 268 Lacombe Composite High School students celebrate graduation

Lovell agreed that graduation is a big event that is valued by students, parents, staff and community.

“We get huge turnouts for our grads. They are really important events for sure.”

And they’re not just for Grade 12 students. It is common for kindergarten students to participate in a short event, and some schools hold large Grade 9 farewell ceremonies, he said.

“Clive, for example; they fill their gym and have a formal sit-down meal and program. They often tie in awards to their events.”

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