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Kingston public school graduations are looking different this year amid the pandemic

Click to play video: 'Graduation season in Kingston as class of 2021 rolls with the pandemic punches' Graduation season in Kingston as class of 2021 rolls with the pandemic punches
WATCH: Kingston-area schools celebrating the graduates of the class of 2021 in a pandemic-appropriate way – Jun 23, 2021

Graduation season normally means students, families and teachers gather in local high schools and elementary schools to celebrate the academic milestone.

But because packed gymnasiums and auditoriums aren’t allowed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are getting creative when it comes to handing out diplomas.

The coronavirus pandemic has made these times anything but typical and students at Bayridge Secondary will notice that during their graduation ceremony.

“This group of graduates especially — they have been doing school for a year and a half in a pandemic and that presented a lot of challenges. What we’ve seen as their staff is that they are incredibly resilient and incredibly adaptable and flexible and they have made this a truly great year to remember,” high school principal Heather Highet says.

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While there’s none of the pomp and circumstance of a pre-COVID graduation, those receiving their diplomas were more than pleased.

Graduate Stuart Logan says, “it’s something that a lot of people didn’t get to experience last year — so I’m really glad they got to do something this year for us.”

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How one youth speaker is spreading positivity to the graduating class of 2021 – Jun 17, 2021

Among the 150 students graduating from Bayridge Secondary School is Makayla Stebbins. She is so thankful for all of the teacher’s efforts.

“It’s been amazing, I love all of my teachers. It’s always been an open door, every single teacher, I always know I can approach and be honest with. If I can’t get something in on time or if something isn’t working I can go to them and I can tell them,” says Stebbins.

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Meanwhile a stone’s throw away at Bayridge Public, 33 Grade 8 students are saying good bye to their elementary school. They too have met the challenge of a pandemic.

Patty Gollogly, Bayridge Public School principal, commended the teens for “their resilience, their perseverance and their optimist attitude.

“They’ve been forced into a situation and they’ve made the best of it … I think they’re going to come out of this stronger than ever.”

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