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Schools celebrate the return of graduation ceremonies


For the first time in two years, graduation ceremonies at all of our schools will look similar to those before the pandemic – and students, parents and staff alike are jumping for joy!

“Graduation is a significant milestone for our students, their families, and our staff,” said Laurie Larsen, Chair of the Surrey Board of Education. “For the past two years, our grad classes have had to forgo all of their large-scale grad events, so being able to once again celebrate with students, parents and other guests – all in one room – is a cause for celebration in and of itself.”

Since spring of 2020, schools in the district adapted graduations to be consistent with provincial health and safety guidelines. Commencements were celebrated through livestreams, rotating cohorts and drive-through ceremonies. 2022 marks the return of a more traditional format with the ability to finally host ceremonies with cap-and-gown-clad grads on a big stage and their loved ones in attendance.

“We have brought back everything,” said Earl Marriott Secondary principal Claudine Davies. “We’re going to be doing the graduation as it was done in 2019. We’re returning to a full graduation ceremony with all of the guests and parents invited.”

And with the commencements come numerous activities such as dinner dances and dry grad leading up to the big day.

“We had our first big grad activity, the grad fashion show, which, strangely, was the last event held inside the school in March 2020,” said Davies. “It was probably the first time I’ve seen the kids actually act like the kids that I remember, joining together as a group, laughing and having fun and talking about what they’re going to do next.”

Prior to the fashion show, Davies said it was hard to get students excited for grad at the start of the year when there were rumblings of provincial restrictions lifting.

“You could see that they were skeptical, they kind of sat there like, ‘Oh, you’re going to pull the rug out from under us again,’” she recalled. “It was really hard to get them going. But with this last event, now all the talk is about grad, the commencement, getting things done – it’s remotivated the Grade 12s. There’s so much hope and optimism.”

For many of the grads, this is the first time they’re hearing about these grad traditions, so Davies is looking forward to “pulling out all the stops” again.

And while the Grade 12s are excited, she said no one may be more excited than their parents, who have hit the ground running with fundraisers to put on a magnificent commencement for the Class of 2022.

“The parents were so generous with their fundraising, there was one grandmother who just bought everything – she said, ‘I’ve been waiting two years to spend money on these guys,’ everybody was just so happy to have it all back,” said Davies.

“I’ve always said to the kids, ‘The commencement is not necessarily about you, it’s actually about your parents, sitting in the audience, and all the work they’ve been doing the last 13 years, all the hopes and dreams they had for you, all coming together and watching you cross the stage.’ To be able now to actually have ceremonies happen again where the parents can be there and celebrate with their kids, that’s what it’s all about.”

Congratulations to our 2022 grads! We look forward to your big day coming up very soon!

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