School's out: Maritime students mark the end of unusual school year

Wednesday was grading day for many students in Nova Scotia, marking the end to a year filled with many pandemic obstacles.

On one of the most exciting days of the school year, the grounds at Glace Bay Elementary School were quiet Wednesday morning.

The facility was closed in order to complete a deep cleaning due to a positive COVID-19 case announced Tuesday that was connected to the school.

 “I'm pretty heartbroken. They lost everything because of COVID during the school and now they lost their grading day,” says Sara Marman, a parent.

Marman’s daughter, Ella, didn't get to celebrate her accomplishment of moving to the next grade with her peers. Instead, she will receive her certificate in the mail.

“I was upset because I wasn't able to see all my friends and I couldn't see my teacher,” says Ella Marman, a Grade 4 student.

Like many parents in the Maritimes, Tracey Hilliard's son had to balance online learning and the uncertainty of the school year because of the pandemic.

But in the end - like many students - her son overcame many of the obstacles and is now off to Grade 8.

“It showed me how resilient our children are. Of course it created hurdles and meant that a lot of families had to do things differently,” says Hilliard.

John Boutilier is the principal at Brookland Elementary School in Sydney, N.S.

“I was glad we were able to be together for grading day,” says Boutilier.

Boutilier has been an educator for 27 years. He says although the pandemic created challenges, it also allowed students to form a bond. He added his students really caught on to online learning during the third wave of COVID-19.

“A lot of success with it and a lot of students really enjoyed that method of learning. There were lots of great lessons passed in and a lot of great projects prepared by the teachers,” says Boutilier.

Now that the school year is over, parents and teachers alike are hoping to return to normal in September.