PORT COQUITLAM (CityNews) — On Monday morning B.C. Premier John Horgan surprised two Port Coquitlam students on Kiss radio by officially declaring this week “Grad 2020 Week.”
The initiative to have a week celebrating grads amid the pandemic started with students from the grad committee at Riverside Secondary in Port Coquitlam.
Holly Coughlan is one of them.
“It’s honestly insane, we thought the most we could get it to was maybe the Tri-Cities, or just a little bit around the Lower Mainland but we were never imagining that it would get province-wide,” she said.
Horgan said one of the goals is to end the weeklong celebration with a cheer on June 20 at 8:20 p.m. (which is 20:20 on the 24-hour clock).
“We’re going to e reaching out to school boards across the province to see if we can get a cheer going in every city in B.C.,” he said.
Congratulations to our 63,000 #BC grads! As we celebrate your achievements this Graduation Week, I want to thank you on behalf of all British Columbians for always bringing your best. @BCCPAC @BCSTA_News @BCPVPA #bcgradsstrong #grad2020 #COVIDbc #bced https://t.co/Pypqj7S971
— Rob Fleming (@Rob_Fleming) June 15, 2020
The announcement follows a similar declaration in the city of Port Coquitlam.
“City hall is also going to be lit up in all the colours of the high schools in our community. We’ve encouraged local businesses to put ‘Congrats 2020 Grads’ signage throughout their windows and throughout the city so grads, as they are out and about, see those messages. The city is also promoting those messages on all of our electronic billboards,” said Mayor Brad West.
It's Grad Week in Port Coquitlam!
Please join us in congratulating all the deserving, hard-working graduating students in our community.
— Brad West (@BradWestPoCo) June 14, 2020
To kick off grad week Riverside Secondary students walked the stage, and received their diplomas, in a socially distant manner.
“I was really upset when I first found out because I didn’t know what it was going to look like for us but my school was able to still kind of have a little bit of a commencement,” Coughlan said.
— Jason Giles (@jgiles_giles) June 15, 2020
Teacher Raquel Chin said being able to pull off a ceremony was important.
“In their life, this is their biggest moment and so we want to make sure that they get that acknowledgment, they get that recognition, and they should each feel special,” she said.
The graduating class has donated money they’ve raised to local charities and legacy projects in the community.
“They are absolutely very positive, they are very caring, and they’re very kind. This group of kids just wanted to give back to the community and create something positive,” Chin said.