Grad ceremonies much different in Oliver this year
By Lyonel Doherty
It’s a little complicated, but high school graduation ceremonies in Oliver should bring a lot of smiles to proud faces next month.
“Yes, we are going ahead with grad, but it will be very different this year as we must follow all provincial health order guidelines,” said principal Tracy Harrington at Southern Okanagan Secondary School.
As usual, grads will be posing for the annual “rockery” photo, but there will only be one student at a time, with no spectators.
“Our photographer is going to photoshop it together so we can maintain this tradition. Hopefully it will look good,” Harrington said.
The principal explained that grad night will start at approximately 7 p.m. on June 24 with a parade around the school block. Students will be standing on the sidewalk in cap and gown while cars with families and friends can drive by and honk their good wishes.
This will be followed by a split grad ceremony (41 students in the atrium and 41 students in the courtyard). Someone will be livestreaming and videotaping the event.
A photographer will also be there taking individual pictures of the kids receiving their diplomas.
“We must limit the number of people in each space to 50 and must not do anything to create a large gathering outside,” Harrington said.
Due to the health orders, the school is only allowed to accommodate two parents (per child) to attend part of the ceremony.
At the intermission, the first group (half) of parents will have to leave to make room for the second group (they will be staged in the small and big gymnasiums).
“It all gets quite complicated, but we are hopeful that we can create a beautiful evening with lasting memories,” Harrington said.
She noted they will be awarding the scholarships and bursaries at the same time that evening.
As for the school reopening on June 1, staff will be ready for students who choose to return on that date.
“We are looking forward to seeing them,” she stated.
Students will have the option of coming in one day per week, however, if some students require more time, teachers will try to accommodate them.
Harrington said all safety protocols will be in place on June 1.
“At this time, we don’t know exactly how many students will be coming back, however, in our plan we have a schedule which will limit us to 20 per cent, which keeps us within the required guidelines.”
As for back-to-school plans at Oliver Elementary and Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary, staff are still working out the details.