By Sue Tiffin
Published June 30 2020
The 2020 graduating class had already learned and experienced growth through so much.
Yes they’ve faced the typical challenges of high school students and of those in a rural community with limited internet capability or public transportation and during a time of provincial labour disruptions. But they’ve also studied alongside historical movements for justice. They experienced together the tragic loss of their friend Phoenix Acero and embraced Rihab and Bayan Wiso as they joined the community from war-torn Syria.
And then after years of pulling together a global pandemic forced them apart.
For many of the students they adapted to live in a way that enabled them to move forward with their plans and live their lives while doing what they could to protect our community. They finished their schooling career online.
We’ve been inspired and motivated by our elders but there have always been youth to help lead change too including Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg from Stoneman Douglas High School Autumn Peltier from the Wiikwemkoong First Nation and Greta Thunberg from Sweden Malala Yousafzai Sameer Jha high school students leading anti-racism marches in their cities and K-Pop fans and TikTok users who have trolled Trump and helped to raise voices while crowding out racist messages on Twitter.
Messages to this year’s grads including from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former U.S. president Barack Obama have urged the students to go forward fixing what they are inheriting – hopeful but a touch daunting too.
They don’t have to do it alone. We all always have to work hard to make things better regardless of where we are in our lives.
We trust these graduates who have access to knowledge and information and communities around the world at their fingertips to make a positive impact but we will also stand alongside them march alongside them and create and work alongside them knowing a better world is always possible.
To commemorate graduates this year we partnered with our local schools to share the graduation photo of each graduating student within the pages of this and last week’s papers.
Take a moment to reflect on the photo of each graduate listed in these pages. Read their names imagine what celebrations and trials and tribulations they might have faced in the years of study and experience they have encountered and offer them applause a wish for a hopeful future and a promise to help to make that happen for them.
Congratulations Class of 2020. Do good things and celebrate that you already have. You did it.