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Grads honoured in non-traditional drive-in ceremony

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I wish somebody would have told me babe that some day, these will be the good old days. All the love you won't forget and all these reckless nights you won't regret. 'Cause someday soon, your whole life's gonna change. You'll miss the magic of the good old days.
- Macklemore

Last Saturday (June 20) dawned as the start of a new journey for 98 Swan Valley Regional Secondary School graduates – most who walked across the outdoor stage on the school’s grounds the prior afternoon to receive their high school diplomas.
The ceremony was a largely adapted version of what decades of graduating classes before them experienced. With a fitting theme of ‘The Magic of the Good Old Days’ the class pay tribute to both their experiences in the last few months as well as their years in school.
“Grad 2020 is not how we had dreamed.” said Valedictorian Josie Black. “When we think back to our days in elementary and middle school- the day we walked across the stage and received our diploma seemed so far away. Perhaps along the way, many of us doubted if they would get to this day or contemplated if it was worth all the years of work that seemed never-ending. But here we are, the grad class of 2020.
“Think back to times like when the Swan River water treatment system went down forcing us to use outhouses parked by the heavy duty shop for all of exam week in our grade 10 year, the days in winter that we were happy to live in Manitoba because it was -60C with the wind so the buses weren’t running. Or the lockdowns which ultimately just gave us more days off!
“Unfortunately, now the world is a whole different place than it was when we came into this building on our first day of Grade 9,” she continued. “Like our current situation, missing the whole final three months of our Grade 12 year, our senior sports seasons and championships, school trips, Envirothon season, or science olympics. The only good thing to come out of this whole situation was not having to write our final exams!”
Black’s valedictory address was a fitting completion to an evening that opened with a group photo, as graduates proudly stood to the left side of their parent’s vehicles to pose for a physical distancing group photo.
Ryan Maksymchuk was the master of ceremonies, providing both sanitation services for the speakers to the podium as well as direction for the rows of cars as they progressed forward to the front to see their graduate cross the stage.
Words of congratulations were shared by SVSD Board President Laurie Evans, SVRSS Principal Jacquie Mydynski-Arp and guest speaker former SVRSS Educator Rob McDonald.
Pomp and Circumstance was then piped through the speakers as row after row of graduates crossed the stage picking up the diploma off the first pedestal and any awards, scholarships and bursaries off a second while posing for photos with SVRSS administration.
Following the ceremony, graduates continued the celebrations with a parade down Main Street, cheered on by many family, friends and community members.
A traditional Safegrad us being planned for a later date once larger gatherings are allowed.