The Trail Times’ nod to the J.L. Crowe graduating class is much different this year in light of the global pandemic. As the convocation in the Cominco Arena was cancelled, instead of the traditional tossing of caps on the front page, J.L. Crowe Principal Aaron McKenzie and the grad council sent the newspaper this photo, which captures how things have changed since March. The grad council continued to meet online these past few months, so this screenshot of the student leaders in their most recent virtual gathering perfectly depicts life as a student these days.

Crowe grads get their time to shine, just no hand shakes or hugs

The adapted convocation ceremony goes this weekend at the Trail high school

J. L. Crowe Secondary and School District 20 could not let the Class of 2020 end the year without some recognition.

Approximately 150 graduates will enjoy their convocation on Saturday.

Just not all at once — and not at the traditional Trail Memorial Centre (TMC) venue.

“We can’t do the big show, but we’re going to bring it down,” said Crowe Principal Aaron McKenzie. “Our site plan is really tight as far as safety, so on site I can’t have more than 50 people in a space.”

Not only have teachers and administration been preparing for the return to school, they have spent hours cooking up a convocating scenario that follows the provincial health authority’s guidelines and will give the graduates and families their special day.

Rather than have it at the TMC or outside, a controlled inside space with consistent lighting for the photographers was preferred.

Organizers decided on the Drama Room at J. L. Crowe where they can hold the ceremony with no more than 10 people in the spacious room at a time.

“We’re going to have parents and their grad socially distanced on cones,” said McKenzie. “So they have a time that I tell them to be here, and they will actually have a brief convocation in our drama room.”

Timing is everything, so graduates and family (up to four members only) will show up at the Greater Trail high school at the appointed time, and family members will watch their graduate mount the stage in cap and gown, pick up their folder with diploma and any bursaries, and have their picture taken on the way.

As customary, Crowe counsellors Dara Waterstreet, Brigitte Ferraro and Loretta Jones will also read the graduates’ parting thoughts, future plans, and awards received.

However, this will all happen without the usual hand shakes, hugs, or moving the tassel to the graduating side of the cap.

The ceremonial gesture is a welcome one for parents whose graduating sons and daughters have already been denied much of the revelry and memories that accompany one of life’s highlights.

“I am glad they are doing something,” said Amanda Moretti, whose son Edwin is part of the 2020 graduating class.

“It’s great they’re doing something to congratulate them. That makes us happy, because we need to honour them.”

The collective tossing of hundreds of caps at the end of the ceremony is a rite of passage, and while it may not be exactly the same, the Crowe graduates will get a chance to experience that virtually.

After receiving their diploma, each graduate will head to the band room where a photographer will take a shot of the lone graduate tossing their cap into the rafters.

Grad BC will video the moment and create a personal video for each graduate and their families.

The video will also include speeches from the principal and valedictorian, and the counsellors will be linked into the video as well, so each graduate will have their own parting thoughts included.

“It’s going to be a year that no one will ever forget,” said Moretti. “They’ve worked 12 years for this and they need to have something.”

McKenzie expects the BC Grad personal videos to be available by the end of June.

One thing he knows for sure, it’s going to be a long, but memorable day.

CoronavirusGraduation 2020School District No. 20 Kootenay-Columbia

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