Simcoe County grads-to-be resigned to virtual ceremony, but open to suggestions

Student Trustee Maya Aldis urging fellow grads not to gather with extended family this year

“It’s certainly not what all of the graduating students thought that this is what our last year of high school would be like, that’s for sure.”

Maya Aldis is a student trustee with the Simcoe County District School Board and attends Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School. She told Barrie 360 she and her fellow students are expecting a virtual ceremony to mark graduation this year. “Instead of having a physical graduation ceremony where we are kind of in the same room,” she said, “we’ll be doing it online and virtually, which is something that’s really new and really interesting, but we want to stress to graduates that it’s not cancelled.”

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“We’ve already talked about, when it is safe, having kind of our own ceremony of our graduates; kind of getting together, having a party, maybe go to the beach or something like that. I’m sure when it’s safe, we’ll definitely do something all together to celebrate.”

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For now, a virtual ceremony will suit, despite news from south of the border of more creative celebrations; a race track in Daytona is allowing students to drive across the finish line and receive a diploma, while in New Hampshire, students are receiving their diploma on a ski lift. When asked if a novel approach like that would work here, Maya said she’d love it if local organizations stepped up. “I think those are all really sweet ideas. And I think that’s really kind because right now, it’s obviously a really hard time for graduates. And I think that people are going out of their way to try to make it super special and recognize them in some way.”

“On local ski hills or the Sunset Speedway racetrack, that is very sweet and very kind. I know that all the graduates would certainly really appreciate that,” she added. “And truly, I think right now, as graduates are honestly open everything, this is a situation that we have to adapt to, and it’s ever-changing every day. So honestly, I think they’d kind of be open to everything.”

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As for the home celebration, Maya recognizes some students may feel the urge to gather with their extended family to mark the momentous occasion, but she urges her classmates to maintain physical distancing for now. “I would give anything to be able to celebrate with my friends and family right now. But I want them to know they’re not alone and that there are so many other students across Ontario, and truly just across the world right now, that feel the exact same way as them.”