Celebrating the end of a more normalized school year

The Sadlon Arena in Barrie was packed with proud families, teachers and staff Tuesday afternoon as Bear Creek Secondary School graduates walked the stage.

The event marked the first in-person graduation ceremony since the pandemic, making it more emotional, and exciting for students who weren't certain restrictions would lift for it to happen.

Despite a brief shutdown in January, teachers said it was a typical year - a stark difference from the past few years.

"I found that the kids really demonstrated a lot of resilience. All of them really, in their own way, rose to the occasion and met the challenge head-on," said Bear Creek Secondary School Teacher Chris St-Jean, whose own daughter was graduating.

Meanwhile, Warnica Public School rang its last bell of the year.

Elementary students flooded out the doors, anxious to begin summer break.

Staff said they tried to keep the last day fun during the pandemic.

"We did try to do online things, we did scavenger hunts and things like that on the last day, but it was much more difficult. This is a lot more exciting," said Warnica Public School Principal Linda Blom.

After two years of online learning, teachers, staff, and students said they were happy to be back in class this year.