On Friday, Grade 12 students will be walking across the stage in their caps and gowns at graduation, but that doesn’t mean the end of the school year.
J.L. Crowe Secondary School principal David DeRosa, says graduating students tend to see the weekend, with the ceremony, memory walk and more, as a closing to their high school careers. However, there is still classroom time and exams to write.
“As the education leader of this building, I can tell you that graduation has a significant negative impact on students’ studies,” he said. “I have the data. The reality is that the distraction can be significant.”
Angie Seifrit, president of the Parent Grad Council, agrees that graduation can distract students from their exams, which begin after the weekend-long events are over.
“The students think, ‘oh, we’ve gone to the ceremonies, I don’t need to go to school anymore,’” she said, adding that she sees some value in maybe moving graduation a few weeks later. “Why not have it at the end of June? It makes more sense to me. School is out, the provincial exams are done, so why not have it at the end of the school year?”
Principal DeRosa is already in talks with Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries Secondary School principal, Aaron McKenzie, to do just that for the 2016 grads.
“We are already looking at next year’s schedule and looking at moving grad to a later day in the month,” he said. “What they are going through (this Friday) is just a ceremony. It is not official. There is no completed diploma in their hands yet.”
Friday’s graduation ceremony starts at 7 p.m. in the Cominco Arena, and is the kick-off for weekend events laid out by both student and parent grad councils. After students toss their caps in the air, they will be heading to Dry Grad, an event where students can have a party without alcohol.
Seifrit says the Dry/Safe Grad is as much for parents as it is to students.
“Students can have a good time and be safe without their parents having to worry about where their kids are or what they are doing,” she said, explaining that as a parent of a graduate, she wants to know her son is safe. “I know he is coming home safe. I don’t have to sit and worry. This is a night when we don’t have to worry.”
Saturday’s activities start with a photo-op for parents and students at Gyro Park. Seifrit says the public should keep that in mind while planning their weekend.
“Just be aware that all the grads will be at the park for photos, so I wouldn’t plan a picnic for that day,” she said, adding that the Memory Walk, which starts at 4 p.m. in Cominco Arena, is open to anyone who wants to see how far the graduates have come over the years. “There are people in the community that know our grads and want to see them at their graduation. We will have baby pictures and a blurb about every graduate. It will be fun.”
Earlier this year, fundraising had been an issue for the graduation class with the loss of their Cruise Lottery – traditionally the highest grossing annual fundraiser for grad weekend. Seifrit says that although there were a few setbacks, and the class didn’t raise as much money as they expected, graduation events, like Prom on Saturday night at Colombo Lodge, are still going to be a blast.
“It was what it was,” she said. “We didn’t hit the fundraising goals that we wanted, so we had to cut budgets, but is going to be fun. The grads are still going to enjoy it, it just isn’t going to be as extravagant as other years.”
For more information about this weekend’s graduation events, visit www.jlcrowe.org/grad.html.