The COVID-19 pandemic may have cancelled plans by Houston Christian School grads to take a week-long trip to Edmonton but money raised for the outing is being used in a blend of the traditional and new to mark the end of the school experience for the eight students winding up their Grade 12 year.
“We really had nothing, but we realized we had to do something,” said school grad transitions counsellor Ed Kronemeyer of a planning session that has now resulted in activities over a two-day period of June 24-25.
And a key part of the activities will be a surprise event organized by parents and the school financed by the monies raised for the trip.
That surprise, details of which are being kept under wraps, takes place after a tailgate takeaway lunch grads will enjoy at noon on June 24.
“What it will be is vehicles in a circle at a park,” said Kronemeyer of the tailgate lunch, adding it was an idea forwarded by the grads themselves.
The official grad ceremony day of June 25 begins with pictures in Steelhead Park beginning at 2 p.m. followed by meeting at the school gym where every student has been allowed to invited four people.
Those people will be seated in chairs in pods on the gym floor so as to respect the two metres (six feet) physical distancing health measure guidance.
The grads themselves and dignitaries will be seated two metres apart on the stage.
“We have had to keep the numbers down to below 50,” said Kronemeyer of additional health measure guidance. “We checked this with Northern Health.”
One tradition that can’t be followed at the grad ceremony is that of grads presenting a Bible to each incoming kindergarten student.
Instead that’s being incorporated into a drive by in which grads will stand on the side of a road so that passing motorists can acknowledge them.
“The grads will pass the Bible through an open [vehicle] window along with a [disinfectant] wipe,” said Kronenmeyer.
The drive by will be followed by another event, also with a surprise component, in which grads can invite four people each such as fellow students or a teacher.
Kronenmeyer estimates the drive by will take place around 6 p.m. with the event happening right after.
“There’ll be prizes at this time,” he added.
Grads will also be supplied a take out meal at the drive by.
Expenses are being covered by the money raised for the now-cancelled Edmonton trip.
It was to have featured attending a live performance, a trip to the West Edmonton Mall and a service project in which grads would have visited a homeless shelter and made a donation.