For the second year in a row the ongoing COVID pandemic scuttled the tradition of Houston Christian School grads taking a trip out of town but that didn’t prevent this year’s grad class from enjoying some time away from the school.
Instead, teachers took the 12-person grad class on day trips around the region, says teacher and grad event organizer Ed Kronemeyer.
One trip was to Cheslatta Falls, another to Babine Lake and a third trip to the climbing wall at the Village of Burns Lake’s recreation centre.
“Inside, at the climbing wall, they did mask up,” Kronemeyer said of pandemic precautions but that on the other trips, being outside, precautions were less stringent.
The trips mark one of the starting points of activities and preparations leading up to the official grad ceremonies on June 24.
With 12 students graduating this year, there have been larger and smaller size grad classes over the years and Kronemeyer hopes the trend will be upward in the years ahead.
Kronemeyer himself has worked with grad classes in organizing events and ceremonies for 25 years, describing this year’s grads as impressive for their outlook and commitment.
A school spirit event held last week by the grads challenged the younger grades to grow within the school, an event Kronemeyer said served as a “passing of the baton”.
And the grads themselves chose a graduation ceremony format that will allow the school’s secondary students to observe the proceedings in person on June 24.
It was one of four options presented by the education ministry as to how in-person graduation ceremonies could be held within safety protocols regarding the number of people who could attend.
“The cohort is small enough so that all of the secondary students can attend and their teachers,” said Kronemeyer of the school’s older student population.
Planning this year’s grad activities proved challenging, just as was the situation last year when the pandemic was still in its early days.
“There was a lot of unknown this year, whether things would be lifted. So we held off making final decisions for a long time. We really held out hope things would chage,” said Kronemeyer.
But as spring moved along it became apparent restrictions would not be eased to a large extent so planning shifted in response, he added.
“I would say we were helped by the experience of last year,” Kronemeyer said of assembling this year’s graduation format.
Once again he referred to this year’s grad class in how things eventually came together.
“They were very good about it. They said ‘this is the way it is so let’s carry on,'” Kronemeyer continued, adding that daily homeroom meetings helped set a tone.
This year’s grad events begin at 2 p.m. June 24 with photos at Steelhead Park. That’ll also be the location where one tradition will be repeated — having grads pass Bibles to the school’s incoming kindergarten students.
Official ceremonies at the school begin at 7 p.m. and the class valedictorian is Ethan van Hoffen.
Grads then return to Steelhead Park where they will be saluted by a drive by of parents and supporters.
Also being planned is a tour of the community accompanied by members of the BC Ambulance service and of the Houston Volunteer Fire Department, said Kronemeyer.