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Emotional song written by U.S. teen strikes a chord with Canadian graduates

Click to play video: 'N.B. high school graduates touched by song from the U.S.'
N.B. high school graduates touched by song from the U.S.
WATCH: A song written by a high school students from the U.S. appears to be striking a chord with grads who are missing out on traditional celebrations. Shelley Steeves has more. – Jun 12, 2020

High school graduates across Canada are coping with an abrupt end of the school year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But a graduation song that was written by high school student Emma Hamel, of Berrien Springs, Michigan, is striking a chord with Canadian students who are missing out on traditional graduation celebrations.

The 17-year-old told Global News she wrote a song for the class of 2020 (standing by my side) for her classmates who felt like they were missing out on traditional celebrations due to COVID-19.

“I kind of needed a way to process everything that I was feeling,” said Hamel, whose mother was born in Canada.

Hamel’s lyrics hit home with graduates across the globe.

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The video posted to YouTube now has more than 100,000 hits, most of which have been in Canada, she said.

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“The response has been so crazy and a lot of principals in Canada have been reaching out to me asking if they can use it,” said Hamel.

Click to play video: '‘Stay the blazes home’ inspires song in New Brunswick'
‘Stay the blazes home’ inspires song in New Brunswick

High schools in BC, Alberta, Toronto, and in the Maritimes have asked to use the song in their graduation ceremonies, said Hamel.

Eastern Shore District High School in Musquodoboit Harbour, N.S., is using the song to produce a teacher video for students said the school’s principal, Jennifer Murray.

“Emma’s song in the background I think just adds another layer of emotion and recognition that it is hard,” said Murray, who said that her school is holding a drive-through graduation ceremony this year as a result of COVID-19.

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Murray said that she connected with Emma’s lyrics as a principal and as a mom because her own son is a 2020 graduate.

“To be able to hug and shake hands and have that physical pride that comes out in that body language that human touch. I think that that is the piece that I am missing most,” Murray said.

Hamel said graduates and teachers from across the globe have reached out to her, thanking her for writing the song.

“They are really glad that there’s a song that kind of describes this unique and strange feeling that we are all going through right now,” said Hamel.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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