How Canadian graduates are celebrating despite COVID-19
OTTAWA -- Faith Holloway has been thinking about prom since kindergarten.
In September, the 17-year-old from Holy Spirit High School in Conception Bay South, N.L., custom designed her perfect dress: an elegant baby blue, mermaid-fitted masterpiece.
Months later, when her city went into lockdown because of COVID-19, her dress was still in alterations. It is still stuck in the store.
While her high school class can’t gather together this week, her family and boyfriend wanted to do a small celebration. Her childhood friend came to the rescue.
“She offered to let me wear her own grad dress, which I thought was amazing. Who would let you wear their own dress?” Holloway says.
Now she’ll be pretty in pink, in a rose-gold, sparkle-toned gown.
The Student Life Network says 370,000 students are in Grade 12 this year. The organization is trying to lift spirits with a virtual party this Friday, dubbed “Prom is on 2020.”
Students from coast-to-coast can register online and tune in for celebrity appearances, guest DJ Loud Luxury and prizes. Every time a participant registers, a donation is made to Kids Help Phone.
Michael Salib, a “Prom is on 2020” student organizer from St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont., says ending his final year so abruptly brought on mixed emotions, but at the end of the day, he volunteered to make history.
“In a time when we’re so far apart, this is the perfect time to be as close as ever,” he says.
That’s how a small town in Saskatchewan wants its 10 graduating students to feel. On Gravelbourg’s main street, large beautiful banners are hanging from lampposts - each with a different smiling graduate.
It’s a stylistic touch that makes Breanne Smith feel special during this tough time. Growing up with her classmates at Ecole Gravelbourg School, Smith was looking forward to capping off their 12-year adventure, together.
“Everyone always talks about your last year, and how great it is and it really was probably the best year of my high school, and so I was looking forward to having that big grand finale,’ Smith explains.
The big day wasn’t just for herself, but for her 92-year-old grandfather. He lost his wife last month, and moved in with the family. Even just a glimpse of his granddaughter in her blue silk dress, brought a tear to his eye.
Ana Solano, an avid singer and theatre lover, goes to Earls of March Secondary School in Ottawa. During the lockdown, she wrote an original song to inspire her peers across the country, singing, “The sun will shine again.”
For her, the biggest disappointment is moving onto the next chapter without a proper goodbye. But she believes the class of 2020 will persevere.
“I really believe in our class, and our generation, that we can get through this and will get stronger from this,” Solano says with a smile.