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Innisfail high celebrating its 2020 graduates this afternoon

Event will feature ceremony, awards and themed prom
WEB IHS graduating class 2019
The class of 2019 at Innisfail High School toss their mortarboards at the end of the ceremony that was held in June of that year. The traditional ceremony for the 2020 graduating class, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is being held on Oct. 9. MVP file photo

INNISFAIL – The 2020 graduates of Innisfail High School are getting ready to have their traditional ceremony this afternoon (Oct. 9).

Officials at the school (IHS) released details ahead of the event, which is being held on the Friday that kicks off the Thanksgiving long weekend.

Last June, local mothers hosted a community graduation for high school graduates, which included those graduating from out-of-town schools. The event was held outdoors in the Innisfail Royal Canadian Legion parking lot, before moving to Centennial Park for additional photos and fellowship.

Brianne Fletcher, a guidance counselor at IHS and main organizer of the event with teacher Jennifer Leinweber, said there will be a revised traditional Innisfail High School Graduating Class of 2020 ceremony in the main gym that will follow provincial protocols put in place to mitigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

There will also be awards handed out, including those for scholarships, highest marks, and those from the Business Community Awards Program. Graduates will also have a special “Prom” area where they can take their own photos in front of a Great Gatsby theme chosen for the event. The school is not planning a traditional prom night for the graduates.

Fletcher said there are a total of 54 graduates eligible for the Oct. 9 ceremony, with 34 confirmed to attend as of Sept. 23. She said there was still plenty of time for other graduates to come forward and register.

“Some of our graduates are all the way in Victoria,” she said, noting the event is being held on the Thanksgiving long weekend and many graduates will be coming home to see their families.

The event will run from 2 to 5 p.m. in the main IHS gym and will be organized and operated by staff of the high school.

Fletcher said a staggered entry system for the ceremony has been created. There will be a maximum of three groups in the gym at any one time. The school is allowed only 50 people at one time to attend the ceremony.

“We are going to make sure we are under those numbers,” said Fletcher. “We have our principal, the vice-principal, and myself as I will be introducing each graduate that comes in.”

Entrance to the 2020 graduation will be through the school’s north wing doors.

All participants will be required to wear masks, with the exception of walking across the stage and during photos. Hand sanitizing stations will be present at the entry door, and all inside doors will be propped open.

She said members of the public are not allowed to attend. Only selected people can come with the graduates, four guests per graduate. Markers will be placed on the floor to maintain two-metre social distancing between groups (student and four guests).

Each student will have their own gown and they will not be shared.

Fletcher said one group would enter the gym at a time. Students will then walk up over the stage individually to receive their certificate. The school will be using a generic certificate for all graduates, and only the principal will handle it. A photo will then be taken of each graduate.

After graduates exit the stage and head to the first photo area, they will receive a formal photo while still gowned.

As one student exits the stage, another will enter the gym.