May 27, 2020: Letter from superintendent Russell to 2020 graduating class families

May 27, 2020 11:03 AM

Dear 2020 graduating class families,

We are certainly sharing a very unusual time with you and finding meaningful and safe ways to celebrate our graduating classes of 2020 this June is challenging.

For most graduates, it is the chance to toss their mortar boards high into the air with their classmates or to take group pictures with their friends and loved ones in their caps and gowns that makes commencement meaningful. For staff, families and friends, it is the coming together of the class to recognize their achievements that makes commencement special.

With this in mind, our secondary schools are moving forward with planning to hold the 2020 commencement event once the Provincial Health Officer lifts restrictions on the size of gatherings. We will look for ceremony dates that fall close to holidays when students who are away for studies or work are more likely to be home with their friends and families. The work on virtual ceremonies is already well underway and these will continue as planned.

There are many attempts being made throughout the province to make the year-end celebrations as meaningful as possible, but in the end, it is our connections with this class and their connections with each other that are important. We want to honour and recognize these connections by holding our 2020 commencement events once times are safer rather than making attempts to replicate the traditional commencement ceremony now in ways that might present a risk to our students, families, staff and community.

Secondary school principals will keep in touch with you and this graduating class to establish dates in the upcoming school year for the grad 2020 commencement once Dr. Henry indicates that it is safe to do so. It was not unusual in the past for schools to hold their commencement ceremonies in the fall of the following year. This was done with great success and made the scholarships and bursaries that much more meaningful since students were actually on their way into their lives as young adults.

Thank you for your patience as we develop our plans for this graduating class. All schools and the two cities are working with us to do the best we can in virtual ways to celebrate with our students this June.

We hope to see all of you soon at an actual commencement ceremony in safer times.


Sylvia Russell

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