BOWDEN — May 27 and 28 marked the first time that Bowden Grandview School was able to hold graduation ceremonies without COVID-19 restrictions.
That made a real difference, principal Jeff Thompson said during an interview.
The lack of restrictions meant a full contingent of parents, siblings, relatives and friends could be present.
“It was a good feeling. I think people were quite happy to be able to gather again and to celebrate their children and their accomplishments,” he said.
“It’s nice to see the smiles on the kids and their family members, right? And you can tell how proud mom and dad were and so forth.
“And you could tell that in the other few years, but I mean, it’s just nice.”
Ceremonies got under way May 27 with the cap and gown ceremony in the school gym.
Several dignitaries were on hand to bring greetings, including Red Deer-Mountain View Member of Parliament Earl Dreeshen, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Devin Dreeshen and Town of Bowden Mayor Robb Stuart.
Others included Red Deer County councillor Connie Huelsman, Chinook’s Edge School Division (CESD) trustee Linda Wagers and CESD associate superintendent Karen Barber.
Justin Corbett was the valedictorian.
“Justin is a fabulous young man, just a real bright light and just a really good kid too, so we’re really pleased with him,” Thompson said.
The grads received their diplomas and the evening ended with the traditional mortar board toss.
The banquet celebration, complete with grads in formal wear, was held at the Paterson Community Centre.
Toasts were given to the grads, parents and school staff.
A history of each student was also presented.
“It’s a little bit of a toast and a little bit of a roast; of course, all in good nature, and the kids love that part,” Thompson said.
“We kind of think of the different things, because we have these kids from kindergarten to Grade 12, most of them – especially this group.
“Just some of the memories, some of the history. There are individual stories, so you know, it takes quite a bit of time in the spotlight for each of our individual grads.”
A video presentation featuring each grad was also shown.
The evening was capped off by the grand march of the grads and a dance.
There were 19 students in the 2022 Bowden Grandview School graduation class, up by about three from last year, Thompson estimated.