This year’s virtual graduation still felt 'real' for Saskatoon student

Aina Marbella, a Grade 12 student at E. D. Feehan Catholic High School, said she and her friends appreciate the work the school is putting in to give them the best graduation they can - but they were also nervous.

“That’s literally the quote my friend told me, she’s like ‘I’m freaking nervous.’ Everyone is basically just nervous at this point, everyone is happy, but it’s kind of sad that we can’t see each other walk across the stage, but you have to make do.”

At first, Marbella was worried when she heard “virtual grad,” thinking it was all on Zoom or something similar. Once she saw all the decorations set up at the school she was excited.

“We thought that everyone was just going to be home. So, it’s a great experience to see everything, we can actually see the teachers and they can see us graduate,” Marbella told CTV.

Marbella said it was difficult adjusting throughout the pandemic, but people at the school made the situation better for everyone. As soon as she heard her name called for her gown and cap, Marbella began realizing she was near the end of this four-year journey.

“It felt more real. When they called my name and said “pick up your gown” it was surreal, a very surreal moment.”

The graduation this year, much like last, offers the students an opportunity to walk across the stage to receive their diploma, but they are in controlled groups for distancing, wearing masks, and no one is in attendance.

Principal Krisa Hayes said there will be a second opportunity June 24 for another graduation ceremony that will allow families.

“We’re really excited that with things opening up on June 20 we’re going to be able to allow the students to come back with their parents. This is going to happen at all Greater Saskatoon Catholic high schools.

“They’ll be able to do a little walk-through, and take pictures on the stage with their family.”