A long 10 months will come to a symbolic end this week when graduates at St. Luke’s Outreach School, Oilfields High School and Holy Trinity Academy toss their mortarboards in the air.
Students had to bring more than books, pens and calculators to school this school year. When school started in the fall, masks, plenty of hand cleaner and cleaning desks became part of school life to meet COVID-19 protocols.
That is, when they were allowed to be in class.
Students were often yanked out of school due to COVID cases connected to schools or the Province – rightly – temporarily stopping in-class learning Alberta-wide to get COVID numbers down.
So much for this so-called helicoptered, soft generation.
These students have persevered without the special things that make the senior year more than reading Defender of the Faith or struggling through calculus.
The Holy Trinity Academy Knights senior football team missed out on a likely repeat of its provincial title, the Oilfields Drillers didn’t get a chance to make a run for an Alberta 2A championship with its strong girls basketball squad, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir students didn’t travel for speaking competitions, and the Alberta High School of Fine Arts didn’t put on its first-class dramas and concerts.
Of course, the grads didn't get through the challenges alone. School staff from bus drivers, custodians, education assistants, front-office personnel, teachers and administration and of course not to be forgotten, students' families, assisted the Class of 2021 the entire way, with mental health a priority for all students.
Now the class of 2021 will step out into the so-called real world, without the benefits of a typical school year, including writing final exams.
Don’t bet against them.
They have already passed a tough life exam in getting through the school year.