EMCS graduates Jaeden Demelo, left, Jayme Vivian, Marin Clarkston and Makayla Craig. Clarkston is the valedictorian of this year’s graduating class. (Photo contributed by Jayme Vivian)

Sooke grad ceremony goes virtual

Graduating students also able to walk across EMCS stage in small groups

Edward Milne Community School has solidified plans for its Grade 12 graduation.

This month’s event will be a little unorthodox, as it will be a virtual ceremony, which will be sent to the students to watch from home.

But considering the circumstances, students and staff say they are just grateful to have a celebration.

“We have an amazingly resilient grad class this year,” Laura Fulton, EMCS principal, said.

She said throughout the class’s career at EMCS, the students were naturally able to bounce back, and if things didn’t go as planned, they were always able to come up with new ideas until they could make it work.

The video ceremony will include speeches from staff, the valedictorian and other graduates, as well as photos of the students, announcement of scholarships, and any other aspects that would be normally included in a traditional ceremony.

Fulton said there are some extra speakers in the video, as a few more felt inspired to share some words to the graduates. She also was excited to note a few more scholarships awarded this year.

“It’s been very difficult for graduates and families,” Fulton said. “So many look forward to the traditional event. A big part of the tradition is about coming together in celebration, so it was very disappointing not to have that this year.”

Fulton said the ceremonial video is coming together nicely and she’s excited for it to be presented to the grad class. The video will be released next week, and families will be sent a link.

“I hope families will plan a little celebration from home,” Fulton said. “Some have said it will be nice to have more involvement in their child’s grad.”

ALSO READ: Sooke principal reflects on year at EMCS

Marin Clarkston, this year’s valedictorian, said she’s happy her class still gets to celebrate together even if it can’t physically, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Recording my speech in an empty theatre at EMCS was definitely a little sad,” Clarkston said. “But I am just glad everyone still gets to see it.”

Clarkston plans to watch the video at a small family gathering. Once the pandemic situation improves, she hopes she will be able to have a “backyard prom” and wear her grad dress.

Reflecting on this year, Clarkston learned to never take anything for granted.

“The last day before spring break we didn’t think anything of it. Now, we realize to appreciate things while we have the time, because you never know what could happen,” Clarkston said.

“I will miss the people at EMCS. It is a tightknit school, and a lot of bonds were made that I hope will last.”

Following her graduation, Clarkston plans to study biochemistry at the University of Victoria, and then enter medical school.

Graduates also have the option walk across the stage in their cap and gown on June 22 and 23. Students have been organized in alphabetical order into groups of about 20, and three events will be held each day.

During these events, graduates will receive their personalized grad packages and their yearbook. Those who don’t wish to walk across the stage will also be able to pick up their items from the school gym.

“The students all worked very hard, and graduation is a right of passage between being a child or youth, to now entering into being an adult contributing to their community,” said Fulton.

“I wish them all the best. They will always be a part of our school.”

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