COVID-19: Outdoor graduation honours 2021 Tommy Douglas Collegiate graduates

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WATCH: Regular graduation ceremonies have been curbed due to the pandemic, but this summer's high school celebrations have gone surprisingly well across Saskatoon – Jun 23, 2021

Just like last summer, regular graduation ceremonies across Saskatchewan were curbed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But after pulling off graduation last year with minimal prep time, the 2021 Tommy Douglas Collegiate graduation ceremony went off without a hitch.

“Well I do know that we had a little bit of practice,” school principal Dave Fisher said. “It was different this year as we knew what to expect.”

Read more: Warman High School to hold 2020 graduation at racetrack

For months, Fisher and his staff have been planning and organizing the ceremony that saw roughly 190 students cross the stage to accept their high school diploma.

“Families get to come up and be close,” he said. “A lot closer than in a big auditorium or like a grad of the past. So, it does have that nice intimate feel.”

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Each family was given a seven-minute window to prep their graduate, have them receive their diploma and pose for pictures — something that was greatly appreciated by the grads and their families.

“It made it a lot better knowing that everyone we care about in our lives was going to be here,” TDCI Valedictorian Erika Stronski said. “(It) was really quite nice for quite a special occasion.”

Read more: Coronavirus: University of Saskatchewan moves 2020 spring convocation online

“We’re pretty proud of them,” her mother Andrea added. “(We’re) very honoured to be a part of the celebration, and glad that we didn’t have to watch it over a camera.”

Even though their graduation was different from a regular ceremony, the feeling of accomplishment felt just the same for the graduates.

“It’s crazy,” honours graduate Avery Stronski said. “It feels surreal to finally be here after four years.”

“(There’s) a lot of excitement leading up to it,” echoed sister Erika. “So, we’re just kind of glad that we can be here, as opposed to a zoom.”

Even though limitations on gathering sizes are starting to loosen as part of the province’s re-opening roadmap, both the public and catholic school systems have opted for virtual ceremonies. Or, outdoor, timed graduations.

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“We did the best we could, with what we got, and that’s all you can say about that,” Avery said.

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