Celebrating High School Graduation in Times of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has likely shattered any chance for Grade 12 students to have a traditional graduation ceremony and other related celebrations. It is a unique and unprecedented situation that has left many teenagers frustrated with the cancellation of such an important rite of passage into adulthood. To walk the stage fully dressed in the grad gown and cap is the ultimate triumph for most graduates.
Besides the Graduation Ceremony, Prom night populates the dreams of many students since childhood. It's the culmination of over a decade spent in school in one final dance before everyone starts a new chapter of their lives.
Many schools have decided to host small ceremonies like Seycove Secondary in North Vancouver, B.C. They have determined students will don the ceremonial garb and walk the stage in small groups of 15 while practicing appropriate physical distancing. A photographer will be there to capture the special moment while the entire ceremony will also be recorded.
The Student Life Network, a Toronto based organization dedicated to supporting students across the country, says that this year 370,000 students are in Grade 12. The organization hosted a virtual party for students in every province with celebrity appearances, guest DJ Loud Luxury and prizes.
One of the #PromIsOn2020 student organizers from St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont., says ending his final year so abruptly brought on mixed emotions. "In a time when we're so far apart, this is the perfect time to be as close as ever," Michael Salib says. The event gathered over 14,000 students and raised a total of $150,000.00
Spirit is Low Amongst High School Graduates for Several Reasons
While most schools are looking for positive alternatives to graduating ceremonies, it's practically a consensus amongst students that the last few months have been particularly harsh.
"My friends and I were planning on decorating our caps and just making it a whole thing. It's really upsetting. It's like one moment, you're just getting an extra-long March break. And then the next moment, everything's cancelled." says 17-year-old Trinity Parchment of Barrie, ON.
Besides the disappointment surrounding graduation events, students still face concerns about their next step. Many of them had hopes of finding summer jobs before heading out to college, both of which don't seem to be likely for many.
Universities, student unions and faculty groups in BC say the changing landscape due to the COVID-19 pandemic means there are lots of questions, but very few answers.
"The uncertainty is so real, and due to that, we can't plan more than a month in the future," said Juliet Watts, director of community relations for the University of Victoria Students' Society.
At the same time, faced with the uncertainties of post-secondary institutions and the probability that their first classes would have to be taken 100% online, many high school graduates are now entertaining taking a gap year.
"When they're left with online classes, that doesn't excite a lot of them, and they realize they might be missing out," Dittmer said. "They can reclaim that year hopefully when everything is back in order in September 2021", said Michelle Dittmer, president of the Canadian Gap Year Association, a not-for-profit that coaches students on making the most of their in-between time.
Families and High School Graduates must Find Ways to Honor this Year's Experiences
Adolescence is a time of forming identity and understanding the concept of emotional well-being. Taking important life experiences like graduation and prom from students can be particularly painful.
"We are all having a really hard time with this, but I think adolescents and teenagers are having it particularly rough, just because it's the stage of development where every emotion feels so big and overwhelming," said Nafilia Sachedina, a psychotherapist at WellNest in Toronto who works primarily with adolescents.
It's important for teens and parents to find creative ways to honour these experiences, albeit different from what they expected, while staying safe in these trying times.
Our high school grads may as well be called the Pandemic Generation, and they will, for sure, be shaped by the events the world is facing now. But we can give our dear grads hope and some joy.
Flower Plus has been crafting special graduation bouquets since 1985, and we promise to do our very best to honour the graduate you want to celebrate with one of our unique and beautifully designed bouquets that are sure to cheer them up! Below are some of the graduation bouquets we have handcrafted and delivered to our dear clients.
Flower Plus has been your florist of choice in the Bayview Leeside area since 1985 and caters to the entire GTHA! We specialize in beautiful natural flower arrangements and also pride ourselves in offering elegant small and bespoke silk flower arrangements.
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