TISDALE — While Grade 12 students from Tisdale Middle and Secondary School are disappointed about the 2019-20 school year, their former teachers want them to know they share how they are feeling.
That is why they are working to make graduation special for their 55 graduates, despite the COVID-19 restrictions that have plagued all of Saskatchewan’s Grade 12 students.
Their graduation ceremony will still take place on June 27, said Principal Carmen Messer, with the graduation committee scouring Pinterest and social media looking for ideas to make the day special. What they have come up with is a virtual grad ceremony that grads can share with their families how they see fit.
“Grads, with their families, can decide how they want to celebrate their day together and watch the video. I'm sure that looks different in different households and that's our plan.”
The video will include traditional elements of a normal year’s graduation ceremony, including speeches from Messer, the mayor, the class valedictorian, and other community leaders, as well as a slideshow and announcing scholarship winners.
The school will also be planning different ways of celebrating the graduates with the rest of the community. Signs with the pictures of the graduates will be put up around Memorial Park on Main Street for everyone to look at. The names of the graduates will also be put up on the town’s digital signage board as another way to honour them.
With plans well underway for the June celebration, Messer said there will be no reason for the school to hold any celebrations in the fall, especially with many grads moving on to post-secondary education. With harvest and no guarantees regarding restrictions from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Messer said these are good reasons to not to chance waiting until fall to celebrate.
The teachers are disappointed too, Messer said, and for good reason.
Tisdale Middle and Secondary School hosts students from Grades 6 to 12 so most of the students have been with the same teachers for seven years. They enjoy spending graduation day with the young people they have gotten to know over the years.
“Our staff is accustomed to having a long nine hour day with our grads celebrating their accomplishment and publicly acknowledging all that they've done. We won't have that opportunity either so it's almost like a grieving for all of us,” Messer said.
The graduation video will be made available to the public through the Tisdale Middle and Secondary School website on June 27, although Messer said they have not decided a time to do that as of yet.