Hamilton’s Juno award-winning band Arkells, feeling “bummed” about students not getting the chance to celebrate graduation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, serenaded a fan and McMaster University student in a social media post released on Sunday.
Frontman Max Kerman says he and guitarist Mike DeAngelis drove to the home of Ava Harrison and joined in on a mock grad ceremony that her family put together while at home practising social distancing.
“To abide by the rules, we left Tim, Tony, Nick at home, but they send their love, and my neighbour Mike D. and I hopped in a car, and we drove down the road to surprise her and serenade her on her lawn,” said Kerman in a YouTube post.
In the video, Kerman says the band sent Harrison the graduation gown she was seen wearing in the video, telling her they were the “grad photographers for the day.”
“We got in touch with her family, and they’re in on the surprise. They told Ava they want to celebrate her final exam in style. They’re going to take mock grad pics around the house,” said Kerman before the band played their latest song, Years In The Making, in the video.
Kerman went on to say the acoustic serenade was their way of “sending their love” to all grads and the class of 2020.
In April, McMaster University said in a release that the school was postponing in-person spring convocation for the class of 2020 and that it would proceed with some sort of online celebrations, with a possible ceremony to be scheduled for a later date.
It was one of many schools in Hamilton, Ont., that announced the cancellation or postponement of graduation festivities across the city due to the novel coronavirus.
Last week, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board officially cancelled proms and all graduation ceremonies for the 2019-20 school year as a safety measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board chairperson Patrick Daly told Global News that the fate of its graduation ceremonies would be decided this week.
On Sunday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced the extended closure of all Ontario schools until May 31 in a televised statement.
“The government is taking a careful approach, which provides our medical experts the time to review the modelling and make the best decision for the safety of our students and the future of learning,” said Lecce.
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