As Crescent Heights valedictorian Ava Ferguson looks toward the future, she reflects on the many challenges she and her classmates overcame as they navigated high school during a pandemic.
“(The pandemic) started in Grade 10, so all of our high school has been around that,” Ferguson told the News. “That’s been the biggest thing we’ve dealt with.”
While Ferguson is excited to celebrate her and her classmates’ departure from high school, she admits they missed out on many traditional high school experiences, such as sports and social events. The 2022 graduating class was also challenged by frequent, often abrupt transitions from in-class learning to at-home virtual learning.
“One of the biggest challenges is when you learn online, you miss so much,” said Ferguson. “And you don’t have the teacher watching over you. And it’s just like everything’s foggy and there’s all these gaps (in your understanding of subjects). So, when we did go back to normal, we missed all these important fundamental things.”
Ferguson is grateful for CHHS educators, who she believes also faced challenges as they adapted to changing educational parameters. She’s glad students and educators alike have been able to finish out the 2021/22 school year with no disruptions.
“The teachers did try very hard to catch us all up and make sure we’re all good,” she said. “Things have started to get quite a bit better, as there’s a lot fewer restrictions now. And the environment in the class (has improved). We kind of lost that school spirit, and it’s starting to come back.”
Now, Ferguson’s focus has turned to CHHS’s upcoming graduation ceremony, taking place tonight at the Cypress Centre at 7 p.m. Pre-registration required.
“It’s a little nerve wracking just because I have to do a speech, but it’s exciting to be get the honour,” she said.
Following graduation, Ferguson plans to end out her high school career alongside her peers, something she has hoped for throughout the past three years.
Come fall, she will be moving to Kingston, Ont., where she will study engineering at Queen’s University.
“I’m just looking forward to the new experience and new city,” she said.
KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News