OLDS — Holy Trinity Catholic School held a drive-by grad celebration for Grade 8 students on June 17.
It was a way of coping with the fact that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there would be no grad celebration at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church like those the school has held in previous years.
“We made a committee of people to plan it and that was the idea that was kind of the most popular,” said committee chair Joe Faught, a teacher at the school.
“We just wanted to make sure that we recognized our Grade 8s and acknowledged that they had graduated, wanted to make them feel special.”
Twenty-three Grade 8s graduated from the school, up from the average of 14 to 16, according to Faught.
When asked why the grad class was so large this year, he said, “just a big group.”
Organizers drove to graduates’ homes and dropped off cards congratulating them and wishing them well.
Grads also received a certificate, a framed copy of the school prayer and a commemorative T-shirt.
In a couple of cases, grads who lived out of town received their presentations at the school.
Faught said the committee plans to go back to St. Stephen’s for grad ceremonies next year as usual, but isn’t ruling out doing a drive-by celebration next year if a second or third wave of COVID-19 interferes with those plans.
“We’re pretty hopeful to be back at the church for next year. But if we have to do it again next year, we will,” he said.
Nadine Jorgenson of Sundre is one of the grads. She said she went to school in Olds because her mom is a teacher and “it was just easier to come to school with her.”
When asked how she felt about the drive-by grad as opposed to the regular one, she said, “it’s really different. They’re getting to know where people live, so I mean, that’s interesting, I guess.”
Jorgenson is happy to leave Holy Trinity Catholic School.
“I would have loved to have left a long time ago; a long time ago. I’ve been in this school since Kindergarten, so it gets really tiring; the same things.”
She’s looking forward to going to high school because “at least it’s different and I have more opportunity to do a lot more stuff.”
Jorgenson loves to play sports. Her favourites are softball, badminton and volleyball. She’s looking forward to playing those sports at École Olds High School when school resumes.
Luke Huhn is another Holy Trinity grad this year.
“It’s an unusual experience. I feel kind of robbed of what it should have been, but I guess I’ll get to do it again in another four years in high school,” he said.
“Middle school isn’t really that much, compared to what high school’s going to be at graduation.”
Like Jorgenson, Huhn is glad that his elementary and middle school years are over.
“It’s been a long time; definitely kind of a drag over the past couple of months with constantly doing work. But I think it’s going to be worth it in the long run,” he said.
Huhn wants to take band in high school.
“I like playing instruments and all that — saxophone and clarinet. It’s definitely going to be an interesting experience.”
He doesn’t expect to be intimidated by the fact there are going to be a lot more kids in high school, compared to Holy Trinity.
“I’m fairly used to a bunch of kids around,” he said.
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