USS grads relax on a grassy knoll on a distant pre-covid school day. (Submitted photo)

Ucluelet Secondary School grads to hold 2020 parade on June 20

Creative alternative found as COVID-19 restrictions cancel plans for public ceremony

On Saturday, June 20 at 4 p.m., the Ucluelet Secondary School Class of 2020 will participate in a grad parade through the streets of Ucluelet.

Spectators and well-wishers can line anywhere along to route to cheer and congratulate the 16 graduates as they drive by in decorated cars.

USS administration is encouraging people to spread out along the parade route as a way to socially distance and to keep the celebration going along the way.

“We’re really hoping the weather co-operates as this will give the grads a chance to get dressed up in their finery and really get a celebration of their accomplishments. It will be a chance for the community to see and cheer for them as well since many of these kids have grown up here. It really does take a community to raise a child and these young men and women have had a great West Coast community to grow up in so I’m glad we have found a way to include everyone in this milestone day,” said USS vice principal Mike Rhodes.

The route of the parade is not being published to avoid huge gatherings due to COVID-19, but it begins at the Ucluelet Elementary School and proceeds down Peninsula then turns onto Norah.

In addition to the parade, temporary grad banners will be installed on light poles along Marine Drive. The grad banners will feature a picture, first name and acknowledgement of a graduating student.

Lachlan Oliwa was appointed the honour of valedictorian. He said his valedictory address will be delivered to the Class of 2020 via video this year, and that he talks about pushing forward.

“We’re always told that the future is so bright and it’s all welcoming for us, but it just seems that nothing is going our way right now. But no matter what happens, we can’t just stop. We all have to move forward anyways,” said Oliwa.

Like most high school graduates, Oliwa finds himself holding his breath for what’s to come in the fall. He was accepted into computer sciences at the University of Victoria and had just applied for student housing.

“It seems like it might still work out, but it’s a little rusty. They are not quite sure,” he said.

If he can’t secure housing, he said he would prefer to take a gap year than to pursue online courses.

“I miss the routine (of school) and just being around people. I miss teachers, Ms. Thompson and Mr. Chapman,” said Oliwa.

Valedictory Speech from Lachlan Oliwa, Ucluelet Secondary School Class of 2020

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READ: Canadian Paediatric Society calls on education ministries to allow graduations

READ: Construction work begins on seismic upgrades at Ucluelet Secondary School

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