Adryanna Ralphs, left, and valedictorian Alyssa Taylor graduate from Edward Milne Community School in Sooke this year, in a weird, different, kiboshed and subdued kind of way. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)

Adryanna Ralphs, left, and valedictorian Alyssa Taylor graduate from Edward Milne Community School in Sooke this year, in a weird, different, kiboshed and subdued kind of way. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke grads preparing for subdued — but still dressed up — graduation

There will be no prom, but there will be dresses and suits

Adryanna Ralphs is preparing to graduate in a virtual ceremony. Well, there will be some physical ceremony, but her parents and friends will be virtual attendees.

She’s a Grade 12 student at Edward Milne Community School in Sooke, where the leadership team has been planning adjusted graduation events all year, but most of them got kiboshed, Ralphs said.

Every year the graduating class has bonding events, like renting out the SEAPARC ice arena for a night and a grad walk where they parade through the other schools in caps and gowns to the applause and cheers from younger students teachers who taught these now-graduates in past years.

The skate was cancelled, and the grad walk will be a video hangout.

They’ll still dress up, but there will be no nerve-wracked walk across the stage at UVic theatre, no prom at The Empress.

Instead, the ceremony will be intimate, contained within their cohort, as much of their Grade 12 year has been.

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“It’s a little sad, but what can you do,” said valedictorian Alyssa Taylor. She’s already recorded her valedictorian speech to be played for each of the four to five separate ceremonies EMCS will have in late June.

Classes have been separated into morning and afternoon groups, and instead of taking four classes for a semester, they have one class at a time.

Two-and-a-half hours of physics every day for five weeks, and then five weeks of art, then math and so on. Friends with last names at the opposite ends of the alphabet or who took biology instead of chemistry have hardly been able to see each other.

It’s been awkward socially, but Ralphs said she prefers the octo-semester model because it lets her focus on one thing at a time in her heavily-loaded last year — chemistry, pre-calculus, biology, art, calculus, physics and English. She’s heading to Simon Fraser University to study kinesiology, and her dress is a shimmery material that changes colour between blue-green and purple. This is what you want to know about grads in the end, right? What are you doing next, and what are you wearing to prom.


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