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View From SD73: Celebrating graduates in School District 73

This year is very special for students, parents, families, extended families, friends and community members
SD73 Cara McKelvey

The School District 73 board of education looks forward to celebrating students’ accomplishments in person at graduation ceremonies in the next few weeks.

It has been two years since we have had the opportunity to do so in person and it makes this year very special for students, parents, families, extended families, friends and community members.

While the excitement of getting together cannot be overstated, it is also timely to look back and consider the valuable lessons learned and how much we have to appreciate and be grateful for as a community.

During the past two years, there have been so many creative ways that school staffs and families have come together to celebrate graduation while also following pandemic-related safety measures, such as maintaining social distance and sticking to cohorts).

There were parking lot graduations, where vehicles parked and families watched as a cohort of students stood together to experience the feeling of walking along a red carpet while dressed in graduation gowns, tuxedos, suits and grad hats and being greeted by staff and school leaders who gave them their diplomas.

There were schedules to have graduation pictures taken in non-traditional locations (outside on the steps, on grass, in fields and amid empty gymnasiums). Many schools set up stations where teachers had grad books to sign and activities to commemorate the graduates. There were grad marches on sidewalks for others to wave, watch and honk horns.

While all of these creative ways of graduating were taking place, most were live streamed and/or recorded for rewatching and sharing with those who could not attend.

Although it was not easy living through these non-traditional graduations, we also learned about how far our staff, parents and students would go to be together, to celebrate graduates and to share in making good memories through pictures, videos and experiences.

In many ways, we witnessed the best of who we are in SD73.

We were willing to go the extra mile to ensure our students and families had a chance to celebrate this milestone of completing high school and entering into an adult phase of life in whatever form that took — taking a gap year, enrolling in a post-secondary, school, continuing in a trades program or work experience, to name a few.

I am looking forward to taking part in graduation ceremonies and to seeing familiar faces and smiles (and even some tears) as our children cross stages.

For a schedule of graduation ceremonies, visit the SD73 website at

Cara McKelvey is a School District 73 trustee. McKelvey can be reached by email at SD73 columns appear monthly in KTW and online at during the school year.