Communities around B.C. have been holding special parades for high school graduates. Add Armstrong to the list, which will host a non-sanctioned event Monday, June 15. (Black Press - file photo)

Armstrong grads net non-sanctioned parade

Council approves, by 5-2 margin, parade through city steets Monday, June 15

They are the graduating class of Armstrong’s lone high school.

And the Class of 2020 from Pleasant Valley Secondary will be feted with a special parade Monday, June 15.

It’s just not a school-sanctioned event, but rather organized by grad parents.

Following a parental presentation Monday, June 8, in the first council meeting held at Centennial Hall with physical-distancing protocols in place, Armstrong council voted 5-2 in favour of the parade.

“These guys (grads) have been through so much this year, having trips cancelled, dry grad cancelled, prom cancelled, the ceremony at the drive-in cancelled, and the parents gave really good reasons to hold a 30- to 45-minute parade,” said Coun. Paul Britton, a retired PVSS counsellor, who voted in favour of the event.

Voting against the parade were Mayor Chris Pieper and Coun. Steven Drapala, who is a School District 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) employee.

“The first I heard about it (parade) was Friday (June 5) and that the principal and vice-principal did not sanction it as a grad event,” said Pieper. “I was told the school would not support it.”

PVSS principal Chelsea Prince said there was no communication about the parade with the school.

She said there are 93 graduates in the Class of 2020.

“When we started planning grad, we were following the provincial health orders and we continue to do so,” Prince said.

A Vernon company filmed the grad class on May 28 and a special ceremony was to be held at the Starlight Drive-In in Enderby to screen the finished product.

That was cancelled when provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the 50-vehicle limit extended to drive-ins.

Parents helping to organize the parade include Sandy Mills, Tracy Henderson and Sheri Ostoforoff.

They were spurred into action after a successful grad parade was held in Lumby last week.

The mothers tried to keep news of the parade quiet until it was approved by council.

“The parade will have RCMP and traffic control, and provincial health rules will be followed,” said Mills, adding organizers want to ensure that all grads attend wearing their grad caps and gowns.

“We are not allowed to have a prom but at least the community can celebrate their 2020 grads in this parade,” added Henderson.

The parade starts at noon, Monday, June 15, from the IPE Grounds.

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