Students in the Sooke School District won’t be able to go to their proms this year due to COVID-19 restrictions but will still have a unique graduation ceremony.
In a video message, SD62 superintendent Scott Stinson addressed Grade 12 students on how the district will be recognizing their accomplishments.
Stinson noted large gatherings are still not allowed in the province as orders from the provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry remain.
“As a result of that, things like dry grad, dinner dances – your prom events – will not be able to go forward and I’m sorry for that,” Stinson said.
What SD62 will be doing, however, is celebrating graduating students with a video ceremony that will be streamed live.
“It’ll look different, it won’t be walking across the stage as you have seen others in past years do but it will be a fitting tribute to you and the work that you’ve done in your schools over the years,” Stinson said.
The video compilation will feature speeches from dignitaries, valedictorians and historians at each school and will show images of each student through grad photos and grad statements. The school district is working with a professional video company, Stinson said.
A date will be set for a live event where the video will be screened. Students will be able to share the video with family and friends.
“We’re sorry that your graduation is ending in this way,” Stinson said. “As the provincial health officer has said, you will be the most unique grad class in history, no one else will have this same event.”
Each school will be putting in unique touches for students as well.
Comments from community members on Facebook groups and on the YouTube video suggest postponing grad events and prom rather than cancelling and question the school district’s decision in doing so.
“Being recognized should not be the concern,” one comment from Jen Lowe reads. “It is having the experience of prom and graduation events that the kids look forward to for many years prior.”
In a statement to Black Press Media, Stinson said the school district is “deeply saddened” world events have made it necessary for the district to cancel prom and other graduation events.
“It was not easy for us as a school district to do this,” Stinson said. “In the absence of being able to offer our normal graduation ceremony, we have created this novel approach that will still allow us to recognize and pay tribute to the graduating class of 2020.”
More details will be shared in videos that will come online next week, according to SD62.