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Innisfail grad ceremony postponed until fall

School also looking at non-events to honour students
WEB Innisfail graduation
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, graduating Innisfail High School students will have to wait until the fall for an official traditional celebration. File photo

INNISFAIL – Graduating students at Innisfail High School will be honoured for their accomplishments but they will have to wait until at least the coming fall for their big celebration.

Wayne Pineau, principal of the high school, said the school will follow the recommendations put out by Chinook’s Edge School Division and this year’s graduating class will have a postponement, not a cancellation, of a traditional ceremony sometime in the fall.

He said the school’s graduation committee is currently looking at dates as to a precise time when a ceremony and prom night can occur.

“At a time in the fall when we will have fewer of the recommendations from Alberta Health Services to deal with. We want to get to as normal as we can,” said Pineau, adding the school and committee is not at this time planning a virtual alternative as a way to honour students during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. “I think Chinook’s Edge is looking at trying to be as consistent as possible so all of our schools are running similar things. We are looking at a postponed event some time into the fall. We don’t have a date yet.”

In the meantime, added Pineau, the school is still working on plans to somehow celebrate students’ graduation without actually putting on an event.

“We don’t want our grads thinking we are not proud of them. We are very disappointed about how things have gone down and the fact we have to make a postponement but at the same time we’ve got to put the health and safety of everybody involved, staff, students and their families first,” said Pineau, adding the grad committee is looking at ways to celebrate them within the town in a way that does not jeopardizing anyone’s health.

“It won’t be a virtual event but we are looking at some ways to celebrate their accomplishments. It is still an amazing achievement for them and we want them to know how proud we are of them.”

Pineau said the school has been exploring some ideas with the town. He said those ideas include ways of getting photographs of the graduation class out to businesses but nothing yet has been finalized.

“We’ve been talking to the town about putting banners up but they don’t have enough space on Main Street,” said Pineau. “We are trying to do something but until we have firm ideas we are kind of jumping the gun a little bit but we are definitely looking at ways we can do that.”

In the meantime, Pineau said to the best of his knowledge all students and staff at the school have successfully kept themselves safe and healthy from the COVID-19 threat.

“Thankfully I am employed and thankfully we’ve had no cases involved with the school. We have not heard of any confirmed cases of anybody that way,” said Pineau. “Our goal is to keep everybody healthy and safe and then celebrate with them in the fall.”