The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop the graduation ceremony at the Edna M Moyle Primary School in North Side when it was time for the Year Six students to graduate. They just had to do things a bit differently, that’s all, and each of the 13 students graduated in grand drive-by graduation style.
Their teachers lined up outside the North Side Civic Centre, each holding both a huge letter, to spell out Congratulations, and a photograph of one of the students. “We have already had a virtual Zoom ceremony and now is the time for the drive-by parade,” said the school’s PTA president, Carol Saunds explained, “then they will park, and receive their certificate, and plaque and trophies from the School Principal, one by one.”
Danielle Duran, school principal, said: “I think that given the times we’ve never had to have a celebration in this way before. Typically we would have done this indoors, we would have had a full dinner and a full ceremony, but it was still important that the students recognise that we still want to celebrate them. It is something that a lot of schools in different countries are doing across the world – a motorcade where they can all drive through and seeing everyone holding signs and yelling for them and celebrating them.”
Each student received a plaque that lists all the awards that they would have received as well as their school leaving certificate and those with academic excellence receive a trophy, too. “We have medals and a gift certificate, and we also have laptops, given by a local, anonymous donor for every student today, as a part of their gift package, and a backpack full of different goodies and school supplies they are going to need for High School next year,” Ms Duran continued. “We also had Lions Club donate some additional laptops to the school as well. We know that students in these times are going to be learning online a lot more, and this Year Six class have been pretty great at doing their schoolwork online. We had some loaner laptops and we had class groups connected through Zoom and Microsoft Teams and even Whatsapp. We had to make sure they were all connected because even though we were not going to sit the key stage study exams it was important that we continued to study for them.”
Miss Jordon, one of the teachers said, “They are awesome children, and I am so proud of the Year Six students, and how they have grown and matured, and now we are seeing them going off to the high school and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors.” North Side MLA Ezzard Miller said: “I just want to congratulate all 13 of the students and wish them well in their highschool education. I know they have enjoyed their time at the Edna Moyle Primary school So we look forward – those are the leaders of the future.”
Valedictorian Tiana Hayles came forward first to receive all her gifts, including a lovely laptop, and her trophies from Ms Duran. “When I grow up I want to be a pediatrician to help the sick children,” she said.