Members of the Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 were welcomed back and honoured by staff at the school on Oct. 14 with a personalized grad ceremony for each graduate.
The school, which provides self-paced course and learning options for students completing high school, normally hosts a dinner, ceremony and celebration for its high school grads and their families at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre at the end of June. Due to COVID-19, the large ceremony was cancelled with officials working to come up with another event for later in the year.
Maura Sullivan, a teacher at the centre, stated in an email that with large gatherings not able to go ahead, the school came up with a personalized event for each student over the course of the evening on Oct. 14. Of the school’s 17 2020 grads, 12 were able to attend.
With 15 minutes dedicated to focus on each student, graduates were invited with up to 10 guests to the school for their celebration.
A slide show of pictures greeted those coming into the front hall for viewing.
The main room had all the makings of any grad ceremony with seating for the graduate and their guests, a podium in place for speeches and decorations to mark the occasion.
There, each graduate received their certificate, as well as any awards they had earned. Staff reflected on the contributions and growth of each graduate during their time at the ILC during each small ceremony. Grads and their guests were also treated to individually-wrapped cupcakes and cookies from Blackbird Bakery, Sullivan noted.
After each individual ceremony, photographer Sarah Lewis captured each graduate in their cap and gown as well as any other photos requested.
Each graduate also received an ILC hoodie with their name printed on the sleeve as they departed the school.
Sullivan said for herself and other staff at the ILC, what largely stands out for the class of 2020 was that 17 students graduated despite the school closure in March amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Blaise Shilleto, the ILC’s team leader, told each graduate during their ceremony, if they can meet grad requirements during a pandemic as they did, they have the skills, courage, determination, strength and capacity to take on anything that comes their way as they move on to new chapters in their lives.
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