St. Stephen – The COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on many things, but people are adaptable, and can find new ways to do things. Take graduations. Just because large gatherings are still not allowed, it doesn’t mean that students can’t receive their diplomas during a ceremony. It just has to be a different type of ceremony this year. At St. Stephen High School, graduating students are getting to take part in a special kind of ceremony that will allow them to have family and friends to see them get their diplomas.

Vice Principal Adam Harris said they are having an in-person, drive-up ceremony. School officials have rented a tent for the occasion, and students will be able to dress up in their gowns and receive their diplomas in front of their loved ones. Because this will take longer than a traditional graduation, this is going to take place over two days, June 17 and June 18.

“It’s an in-person graduation where they drive up,” said Harris. “As you know, we’re pretty limited on what we can do. So, ultimately, what we’ve done, we’ve rented a tent and they’ll be able to come up to the school and get their gowns on. We’ll have their gowns all ready for them. They’ll get their gowns on and walk across the stage. They’ll be able to have some family and friends with them and get their pictures taken with the principal of the school.”

Harris said there will be grad packages for the students that include diplomas, scholarships, awards, etc. The graduates will receive these packages as they walk off the stage. There will be three graduates for each 10-minute time slot, and Harris said it will be just like a normal graduation where the students’ names are announced and they walk up to the stage to receive diplomas. As they exit the stage, they will have their photos taken by a professional photographer.

Harris added that the graduating students and their families can then go around town to take photos with the 2020 signs that have been printed. Of course, there will be plenty of photo opportunities, and you can expect to see many graduates at places such as Dover Hill, having pictures taken.

One thing that is quite interesting about this type of graduation is that unlike a traditional graduation where students are called in alphabetical order, students can go in smaller groups, and they can go with their friends. Harris said the graduates were able to sign up or time slots and choose when they would graduate, and who they would graduate with.

“Grads had the opportunity to sign up or time slots. If they had a particular group of friends that they wanted to go through with, we made that possible.”

A virtual graduation and sports banquet were held last week, with major ward winners. Everything was recorded, and the sports banquet will be shown on YouTube next week once the video has gone through the editing process.