St. Augustine School class of 2020 graduates finally got to walk the stage on Sept. 26, although in small, staggered groups.
The event, which saw groups of five or six graduates arrive at a time, took a total of four hours to complete on the spread-out schedule.
The grad ceremony was live-streamed on social media. To start things off, Christian Baulista sang O Canada and Father Schmidt gave a blessing and prayer.
Grad Dante Greene read the Treaty Six acknowledgement. Tiyanna Louis-Johnson said a prayer in Cree.
Town of Ponoka Mayor Rick Bonnett said a few words to the grads, saying that even though 2020 was a difficult year, it’s still a special time for the grads.
“What a year 2020 has been … your grad day is finally here, so congratulations on this milestone in your life that will kick you off as future leaders and members of what we will call our new society,” said Bonnett.
“Graduating this year, will especially be one to remember your whole life, but this year will be an extra special memory, due to the effects of COVID-19.”
Speeches were given to later groups, including the valedictorians, Baulista and Anna Froese, keynote speaker Justin Florean and a reply from Kadence Lloyd, the traditional passing of the torch speech by Madison Fleck and Matthew Dela Cruz, and an address from principal Kari Davidson.
In an interview conducted by the school, graduate Amanda Huchkowski says her favourite school memory was the 2018 Europe trip.
“I got to travel internationally with some of my closest friends, and of course that calls for messing around in every city or castle we were in, causing countless memories that … Mr. J would probably shake his head at,” said Huchkowski.
She wants to become a registered nurse working in pediatrics, but for now, she’s living in the moment.
“Experiencing 2020, this year has shown me that plans don’t necessarily work out all the time and that you have to enjoy the moment you are in and appreciate life.”
After crossing the stage, grads and their families were invited to a picnic behind the school, where signs with their photos showed the families where to sit, physically distanced from other groups.