High school grads ready to face new normal after 2 years of COVID-19

·2 min read
The graduating class of 2022 is the first one since the pandemic began to be able to dance together at prom or attend a graduation party with their entire class. (Shutterstock - image credit)
The graduating class of 2022 is the first one since the pandemic began to be able to dance together at prom or attend a graduation party with their entire class. (Shutterstock - image credit)

Island high school graduates who had to adjust to COVID-19 over the last two years are walking the stage this week to get their diplomas as the world looks to enter a new post-pandemic normal.

The graduating class of 2022 is the first one since the pandemic began to be able to dance together at prom or attend a graduation party with their entire class.

Two Grade 12 students who had their ceremonies on Thursday told Island Morning's Laura Chapin that they missed out on many aspects of the high school experience the past two years.

"It definitely hindered a lot of things we can do right throughout the whole year, and not just before the two weeks of March break either," said Matthew Murphy from Kinkora Regional High.

"We usually have a big trip with the Grade 12 up west where we stay the night for a special program we're all in. But because of COVID in October, we couldn't do that ... We couldn't do things we normally would. So it kind of dampened the year a little bit, but we still made the best of it however we could."

A learning curve

Ashton Jay from Souris Regional School said the situation not only affected the fun aspects of high school, but also his academics — particularly at the beginning of the pandemic when schools were adapting to the realities of remote learning.

"I was in Grade 10 and I had no ambition to do anything whatsoever. And I'm not ashamed to say I just didn't do the work," he said.

"It was a lot of a learning curve for everybody, and I don't really blame the teachers on that but very much could have been handled way better for everybody. And I think we all would have had a better experience."

Now both students are hoping their post-secondary experience is more normal than for those who started university while COVID-19 restrictions were in place. Jay plans to major in journalism, while Murphy will take accounting.

But for now, they say they're just excited to finally reach a milestone they've been building up to for a big chunk of their lives.

"Tonight, we walk across the stage and walk through the halls for the very last time … It's an emotional time and it's sad to leave, but everyone knows you're going to do great in your new beginnings," Murphy said.

"I'm a much different person than I was … [before the pandemic]," Jay said. "A lot more mature, and more outgoing."

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