From hockey sticks to drive-ins to car honks, the class of 2020 was celebrated with spirit and creativity.

Graduate on Laptop at Home
A high school girl graduating on her laptop during the coronavirus pandemic.

2020 compelled us all to approach our “everyday” lives in new and creative ways—students included. From online classrooms and assemblies to cancelled graduation ceremonies and proms, nearly every aspect of academia was remastered for students. Perhaps those most affected was this year’s graduating class: the usual pomp and circumstance surrounding high school coming to a close had to be rearranged to respect social distancing guidelines. While many schools postponed or cancelled their ceremonies, others found creative ways to mark this oh-so-important rite of passage.

Canada celebrated its own graduates in many creative ways from coast to coast.

While school-specific lawn signs popped up everywhere congratulating the class of 2020‚ schools across the country came up with innovative ways to celebrate their graduates.

One high school in Timmins, Ontario, hosted graduation in the Sportsplex Arena parking lot. Students crossed a large stage one at a time to receive their diplomas‚ while their families watched it all on a big screen and heard the audio on their car radio. The ceremony was also streamed live on YouTube.

In BC, a showcase of provincial celebrities including singers, athletes and performers recognized the province’s 61,000 graduating students. Among those wishing the graduates well were Jacob Tremblay, Sarah McLachlan and Craig Kielburger, while Etalk’s Tyrone Edwards, Liz Trinnear and Chloe Wilde hosted the festivities. The event, which also celebrated students in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut, was streamed live on YouTube. 

Students at a high school in Calgary celebrated their graduation drive-thru style at Stampede Park. Graduates walked individually across a large stage for picture-taking and were “applauded” with honks from their families who participated in the momentous occasion from their cars. Meanwhile‚ a Fort McMurray school delivered caps and gowns to each student using hockey sticks, while accompanied by a parade of honking cars driven by faculty.

In Regina, one school posted oversized colourful banners from the lampposts on its Main Street to commemorate all of their graduates and gave them a taste of fame, if only for a short while.

Atlantic Canada got into the graduation spirit too; students at one school in Nova Scotia put on their prom gowns and created a video for social media‚ so their fancy prom clothes got the wear and attention it deserved.

And The Student Life Network threw a “Prom is on 2020” virtual party for the 370,000 Canadian students in twelfth grade this year. Students across the country were invited to register online and tune in for celebrity appearances hosted by the DJ duo‚ Loud Luxury. In true Canadian style, there was also a “giving back” component to the event — where a donation was made to Kids Help Phone for every student who registered.

Without question‚ the class of 2020 experienced graduation like no other. But their ability to quickly adapt to the new reality and the creativity they mustered for “the show to go on” speaks volumes about their resilience‚ adaptability and strength in character. Congratulations to the very special 370‚000 high school students that make up Canada’s class of 2020! We can’t wait to see what you do next.

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