Grade 12 graduation to be held at Central Hall Westminster


Photo used with permission from Colin/WikimediaCommons

Grade 12 graduation will take place at Central Hall Westminster June 12 with extra COVID-19 regulations and will be available to watch over livestream. Grade 12 students may only invite two guests.

Clara Martinez, News Editor: Print

Grade 12 graduation will take place in person with a livestream available online, Director of Student Life James Perry announced in an email May 18. Perry said Grade 12 students and a maximum of two guests per student will gather at the Great Hall of Central Hall Westminster, where graduation is traditionally held, June 12 at 3 p.m.

At the conclusion of the 2019-20 school year, unable to attend an in-person ceremony  seniors were given an allotted ten minute slot to receive their diplomas individually outside the Waverley entrance to the school. The ceremony itself took place virtually with live speeches by faculty members , pre-recorded student speeches and musical performances.

This year, Perry said faculty and staff are not permitted to attend in person unless directly assisting with the ceremony, a decision made based on social distancing guidelines set by Central Hall Westminster. 

In previous years, the Grade 12 graduating class was seated on stage with both the ground floor and balconies filled with attendees.

In contrast to previous years, Grade 12 students will be seated on the ground floor because the stage capacity is not sufficient to accommodate all 122 graduates. Since the ground floor has a capacity of 127 seats, the upper balconies will be available for guests. 

Perry said these limitations are not ideal, but necessary in order to comply with guidelines.

“It kills me that siblings and grandparents for some families won’t be able to come, and that a good portion of faculty and staff won’t be able to come as well,” he said. “We had to prioritize students.”

Perry said other venues that would allow for more spectators were considered, but the only available location for the number of people on this date was Central Hall Westminster. Although locations on school property, such as the gymnasium and Canons Park, were possibilities, Perry said “having that traditional experience for seniors was really the priority.”

Despite limitations on location availability and the amount of people that can attend, Perry said the most important factor in determining graduation was for it to be possible in person.

“Even though it’s not ideal and we can’t invite everybody, I think it’s important that they get that opportunity,” he said.

Eva Noel (’21), who has attended ASL since Grade 2, said although she is grateful for the opportunity to have an in-person ceremony with two guests, it is disappointing that teachers are unable to attend.

“I definitely think it’s upsetting because my teachers have supported me throughout high school and are the reason I’m where I am today,” she said. “But hopefully they can watch it and, you know, get some sort of sense of enjoyment and excitement.”

Noel said despite teachers not being present, the opportunity to attend graduation in person with her fellow members of the graduating class is the priority. 

“It’s like the closing of this huge chapter in our lives,” she said. “Obviously I’m sad about the other things that got cancelled and I would have loved to experience them, but to me graduation was always the most important.”