High school graduation is a milestone in any young person's life, and the grad is a big part of that. This year there were no grads in Newfoundland and Labrador because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but across the province towns and people have been trying different ways to make the graduates feel special.
John Roberts and Siobhan O’Keefe of Labrador City are two of those people, setting up a stage for their daughter, Faith, who graduated from Menihek High School, in front of their home to take some grad photos in her dress and with her date — six feet apart, of course.
“We had an open lawn instead of an open house,” O’Keefe said with a laugh. “We let people know and they could come by and honk, or come in for a picture if they could.”
Faith was overjoyed that her parents decided to invite the other graduates to come and take grad photos using the stage. Many took them up on it, O’Keefe said, and it turned into the closest thing to a grad party the 2020 graduating class in Labrador City had.
“It was great to see everybody,” Faith said. “Everyone was so excited to be outside and to be dressed up on a beautiful day.”
O’Keefe said she put tape on the ground to show people the proper physical distance to stay from each other, and made sure people were following the rules.
Faith said it was really nice to see so many of her friends and classmates, since many didn’t get a chance to say goodbye in person because of the abrupt end of the school year.
Some teachers from the school dropped by as well to offer well-wishes to the graduating class, and O’Keefe made party favours with slogans such as "Grad 2020: from our bubble to yours" and "Grad 2020: The year **it got real!"
“They worked so hard on their grad and didn’t get to do any of the activities they had planned,” she said. “We were just glad to be able to give them this, at least.”
They were going to take the stage down after the high school students had a chance to use it, but then they decided to open it up to the kids in Labrador west who are graduating from kindergarten, and decided to leave it up until May 31 to give as many children as possible the chance to use it, O’Keefe said.
Faith said she loved the idea of letting the kindergarten grads use the stage and she hopes it can help them enjoy their milestone more.
“I can remember dressing up for my kindergarten graduation and being so excited,” she said. “It’s nice they can have this. It must be so weird for them, too.”
Evan Careen is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Labrador for SaltWire Network.