In terms of meeting student expectations, it remains to be seen if this year’s high school graduation will make the grade.

According to Trevor Gerwing, principal at Carpenter High School, there are currently no plans in place for a graduation ceremony at CHS this June. However, Gerwing did say the school will organize something, but it will depend on whatever COVID-19 restrictions are in place come that time.

“There is a ministerial committee which includes directors (of education) as well as superintendents along with government folks, that will be putting together a list of guidelines – I’m assuming a list of dos and don’ts – for graduations across Saskatchewan,” Gerwing explained. “Once those guidelines come out, we’ll be able to make a more definite plan. At our school, the intention is to do whatever it is we are allowed to do under the regulations. Until then, we’re going to wait and see.”

Last year, CHS did not hold a traditional graduation ceremony because of the ongoing pandemic. Instead, a video was released online showcasing the graduates and their respective accomplishments.

Facing a similar situation is Ernie Studer School in Loon Lake where principal Brad Freyman said the absence of a set graduation plan for 2021 is not for a lack of interest in terms of the grads themselves wanting to get something going.

“It’s more about working around what regulations might look like as the year goes on,” Freyman said. “We’re hesitant to put any real plans in place until we have a better idea as to what the regulations may look like in the coming months. I’m not even going to speculate as to what could happen, but, of course, we would absolutely love to be able to go with something more traditional. Unfortunately, I am not confident that will be the case.”

Last year, ESS held a drive-up graduation. A stage was set up outside the school, graduates drove up one at a time, got out of their vehicles and received their diplomas while family members looked on. A video of the drive-up event was also posted to social media.

“We made the best of the situation,” Freyman noted. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t the big glamorous event some students are looking for, but it was the best we could do given the conditions we were faced with at the time.”

Meanwhile, going forward, Gerwing is optimistic things will be better for this year’s graduates, but reiterated the need to be vigilant and to see what can and cannot happen come the end of the school year.

“It’s been difficult in general, not just with graduation,” he said. “It’s a difficult time to be a young person. A lot of the milestones, whether it be musical performances, sporting events or graduations, all those things have been done in a different way and in a way that does not feel as complete as they have in the past.”

Gerwing also said he is very proud of the students at his school.

“Those who are graduating this year will have gone through a year and a third with abnormal school life,” he said. “Grades 11 and 12 are not easy under ideal conditions, and these guys have done a great job given the situation.”

by Phil Ambroziak