Windsor high school students pushing for full grad experience

·2 min read
Avon View High School students Emma Pearson, left, Chad Cochrane, centre, and Joy Bannerman, right, want a full-scale graduation ceremony. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)
Avon View High School students Emma Pearson, left, Chad Cochrane, centre, and Joy Bannerman, right, want a full-scale graduation ceremony. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)

Many members of the graduating class at Avon View High School in Windsor, N.S., feel they are getting shortchanged.

Despite no COVID-19 restrictions in place, the administration of the school wants to break the upcoming graduation ceremony into four groups of about 50 students each.

That's not sitting well with the majority of the Grade 12 students at the school who don't feel they should have a scaled-back graduation like the last two years due to the pandemic.

"I want to have a grad where I can see our valedictorian and my friends all get to go up on stage to get the awards they've earned," said Chad Cochrane, a Grade 12 student who started an online petition earlier this week.

"There aren't any restrictions and there are no limits, so we should be able to have as many as we want."

Paul Palmeter/CBC
Paul Palmeter/CBC

The petition has spread quickly in the West Hants community. In the first two days, it was signed by more than 1,600 people.

"We aren't going to stop until we get what we want," said Cochrane.

Adding salt to the students' wounds is the fact many other high schools are returning to pre-COVID graduation ceremonies.

"We are now making our voices loud enough that they can hear us," said Joy Bannerman, another Grade 12 student. "At first they were just disregarding what our feelings were and told us to get over ourselves."

In response to the petition and the pushback from students, the school administration has sent out a survey to parents and students asking for their feedback.

"They'll gather that information at the end of this week and then they'll work with the school advisory council to determine the best steps moving forward," said Dave Jones, regional executive director of the Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education.

Students say they will keep their protest moving forward until they reach their goal of a full-scale graduation ceremony.

"I just honestly want to see all of my graduating class walk across that stage," said Grade 12 student Emma Pearson, who helped create the petition.

"I want to see everyone that I've grown up with get that opportunity."

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