The Estevan Comprehensive School (ECS) is honouring the Class of 2021 on Saturday.
For the second straight year, the school is going to host a virtual ceremony, with a video, since the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions don’t allow the Comp. to have a traditional, in-person, cap and gown celebration.
A total of 168 students, which is slightly lower than normal, will graduate from the school in 2021.
“We’re going to have all of the components of our normal graduation ceremony, but it will all be on a video,” said principal Nathan Johnson. “We will have all of the speeches and speakers that would normally take part in video.”
All of the future plans for the grads will be compiled and read out for the video as well.
This year, since the restrictions are not as stringent as they were at this time in 2020, the school is having a diploma pickup on June 19. Students have been coming to the school dressed in their formal attire, and then they are taken to the band room to pick up their diplomas. Afterwards, they shift to the drama room to have their picture taken.
“We’re doing individual signups for when people can come and do the diploma pickup,” said Johnson.
Then the students will exit a different door to avoid congestion.
“The students can come through with their household, and then they can … get their picture taken if they want. Or the parents can get a picture.”
This year’s theme is “Here’s to staying positive and testing negative.” The class representatives, as voted on by the grad class, are Madison Hrywkiw, Bethany Montebon and Teagan Westling.
The valedictorian, Kaleb Bechtold, had an average of 99.3 per cent.
The video will include speeches – the principal’s message, tribute to the parents, tribute to the staff and valedictorian’s address – along with the graduate photos and future plans, and photos with their diplomas taken on June 19.
Johnson said last year’s format worked out fine. It’s definitely not what the school wants to have for its graduates; it would prefer to have the big cap and gown celebration at Affinity Place, when about 2,000 people would turn out to salute the grads and wish them the best in the future.
He believes the grads have proven to be very resilient amid all of the challenges posed by the past 15 months.
“They’ve been through a lot. They had to endure the end of Grade 11 at the start of this, and not having school from March onwards last year, and all the uncertainty that we’ve had throughout this year. They’ve been amazing. It’s definitely not easy to cope with, and they’ve been an incredible group of kids,” said Johnson.
The Mercury will have further stories on the Comp grad celebrations throughout this weekend.