“We are back to the big show in the arena,” Principal Aaron McKenzie said. “Some kids are more nervous because of the size of the crowd, but kids and families are excited.” Photo: Unsplash

“We are back to the big show in the arena,” Principal Aaron McKenzie said. “Some kids are more nervous because of the size of the crowd, but kids and families are excited.” Photo: Unsplash

Graduation convocation returns to Trail arena Friday

Convocation for JL Crowe grads of 2022 starts at 6 pm Friday, June 24, in the Trail Memorial Centre

There’s definitely some cases of the jitters this week in the class of 145 graduating students at J.L. Crowe Secondary School, given traditional graduation ceremonies are returning to the grand stage on Friday in the Trail Memorial Centre.

After two years of smaller more intimate graduation events due to pandemic restrictions, the Convocation for 2022 grads will again be held in the Cominco Arena, a venue that holds thousands, giving an open-arms invitation for family and friends to join the students in their big night.

Jitters aside, Principal Aaron McKenzie says it’s going to be a great time.

“We are back to the big show in the arena,” McKenzie told the Times. “Some kids are more nervous because of the size of the crowd, but kids and families are excited.”

Convocation starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 24, and is scheduled to run for two hours. Family and friends wanting to take pictures with the grads are asked to show up at the Trail Memorial Centre by 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

During the ceremony, students will receive their B.C. Certification of Graduation or School Completion Certificate, class valedictorian Marguerite Helberg will give her address and Eric Gonzalez, a Class of 2014 grad known for his talent in documentary film-making, will be guest speaker.

After convocation the students will be going to their disco-themed Safe Grad event in the Cominco gym.

Convocation goes Friday night in the Trail Memorial Centre.

Convocation goes Friday night in the Trail Memorial Centre.

Something new this year is the Grad Calvacade.

On Saturday, June 25, at 2 p.m. the public is invited to fill downtown Trail streets and cheer the graduates — who will be decked out in their finest and riding in decorated vehicles — in a parade that will roll through the city starting at the old bridge and moving along Bay Avenue, up Helena Street, down Cedar Avenue to Farwell Street, then back down Bay Avenue to Helena Street, exiting along the Esplanade.

After the cavalcade, the students will move to Gyro Park for professional photos. From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. family and friends are invited to take pictures in the park with the grads. Saturday culminates with a prom dinner and dance at the Colombo Lodge.

The 2022 student grad council and the 2022 grad parent executive members worked tirelessly in their respective roles in a shortened six-month timeline to make hard decisions given the Provincial Health Orders for COVID-19. They approached grad 2022 with gritty determination and cheer while minding a roller coaster of health orders at a time when no one knew what the next day would bring.

The grad parent executive extends thanks to all volunteers and students who have helped along the way these last six months and throughout grad weekend.

“We were so very lucky to have the support of so many grad families who also donated baskets for our auctions and all of the businesses who supported our auctions,” Helen Bobbitt, fundraising co-chair, shares. “There were also many generous companies who also gave to support our youth. It was a different year but that also gave us the chance to introduce different events.”

With the big weekend nearing, graduating students are ready to have their “as near to normal” experience given that the last traditional grad was in 2019.

“It has been three years of waiting and watching,” one grad said as others nodded in agreement. “We are excited to share it with our families and friends and really excited about this weekend’s celebrations.”

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