W.L. Seaton Secondary grad Lusi Barni crosses the stage to collect her diploma Thursday, June 18, 2020. The physically-distanced event saw small groups of students and their parents celebrate the milestone in a ‘drive-thru’ fashion. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)

Seaton grads turn tassel amid COVID-19 in Vernon

Graduating Class of 2020 crosses stage in a ‘drive-thru’ fashion to maintain physical distancing

COVID-19 didn’t stop celebrations of graduates from the W.L. Seaton Class of 2020, but rather, altered them.

Before grads turned the tassel, the students had the opportunity to cross the stage and collect their diploma on Thursday, June 18.

Staggered times, beginning at 2 p.m., allowed each grad and their family to have a very individualized stage-crossing event. A short photo op allowed each parent to have a front-row seat for their graduate before following them out to make way for the next.

Applause and cheering was also kept to a minimum to ensure the stage area was quiet as the next graduate prepared to cross.

“Health and safety are very important at this time,” a letter to grads said. “Please keep your social distance between the group in front and behind you.”

A video of the entire graduation ceremony, captured by Sproing Creative, will be available online for students and families when it’s finalized. The entire ceremony, including the Valedictorian and Speakers of the Class will be included.

A diploma wasn’t the only thing that Seaton grads received Thursday.

A grad family decided to try to make the day extra special for the quarantined class with some fundraising.

“My girlfriend’s son, Jared Ross, is graduating this year and I felt bad that they were losing so many of their grad traditions so I decided to do something for them,” Chris Racette said.

Racette reached out to local businesses around the Vernon area and he said they were more than willing to spread the love for the graduating class.

Donations were provided by:

  • 170 Big Mac vouchers – McDonald’s – Chris Erickson
  • 170 food/drink vouchers – A&W – Jonathan McMurray
  • 170 cheesy bread vouchers – Dominos – Clay Batke
  • 2-for-1 vouchers – Booster Juice – Derek Slawinski and Jordan Sitko
  • Car wash vouchers – Skogie’s – Chris and Jason Skoglund
  • 20 per cent off online orders – Taco Del Mar – Byron Skelton

“Many other businesses wanted to help, but with losing so much revenue this year (due to COVID-19), they were unable to,” Racette said.

Racette extended his gratitude to all who donated and offered well wishes to the graduating Class of 2020.

READ MORE: Vernon community composting ready for next step

READ MORE: Vernon Secondary grads revive long-faded tradition


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