While the date and the time of the celebration are the same, there has been a change to the town tour route for Powell River’s graduating class of 2020.
While the procession for graduates will be held on June 27, from 3 to 5 pm, Terri Cramb, chair of the dry grad committee, said there have been some slight changes to initial plans for celebrating this year’s graduating Brooks Secondary School students. She said the change was due to some provincial restrictions.
“We’ve extended the route,” said Cramb. “We are still going to have a parade, but it’s going to be more of a town tour.”
The original plan was to have the procession down Marine Avenue, with students walking behind vehicles they decorated for the occasion. The new plan is for a car parade but the new route is quite extensive and bypasses Marine Avenue.
“Our hope is that the community really comes out, and of course maintains social distancing, supporting the grads and making it a really fun event,” said Cramb.
She said the students had a ceremony at Brooks Secondary School, where they were recognized individually by crossing the stage and receiving their Dogwood Certificates, but as far doing something together to celebrate, the town tour will be the event.
Cramb said graduating students wanted to walk together, which is why they had that component initially planned for the procession on Marine, but due to the prospect of a high number of spectators along a shorter route, there were concerns from the medical health officer.
“The grads are going to stay in their cars,” said Cramb. “They are still able to be with their grad partner and with one other person. They are encouraged to decorate their cars. It is now quite an extensive route.”
The parade will begin at Town Centre Mall, turn right onto Alberni Street, right onto Ontario, right onto Barnet Street and make a left on Joyce Avenue, heading toward Grief Point. The grads will make a left turn on Toba Street, then turn onto Cariboo Avenue, Tofino Street and make a right back onto Joyce. The procession will turn up Glacier Street and make a turn onto Manson Avenue, making its way to Cranberry, where it will loop on Drake Street, Dieppe Avenue and Cranberry Street, turning back to Manson and down Alberni to the mall parking lot.
With the new route organizers hope there will be lots of space for people to come out and still maintain safe distance.
Cramb said it’s unfortunate the original plan could not be enacted but there is still an opportunity for the community to acknowledge the graduates.
“The biggest piece of the parade, in my opinion, is the grads have been thinking about this for years and picked their partners, some of them, in elementary school, and they look forward to this,” said Cramb. “This is a big night and all of that was taken away. The fact that we can have an event is really nice but the biggest piece is having that support in the community, making it as awesome as possible.
“The grads were a little hesitant at first. They weren’t a real big fan of the parade but now they are all onboard. It’s their opportunity to get dressed up and be together, distance-wise. It’s a way for them to celebrate and a way for all of us to celebrate them.”
Cramb said organizers had a lot of obstacles in the way, trying to navigate safely, but also thinking about the students and what could be done for them.
“At times we wanted to throw the towel in but we didn’t and we kept moving forward,” said Cramb. I’m just happy we came to something that we could actually host for them. It feels good.”
Cramb said there are some COVID-19 safety measures for the procession. The first is for people to not come to the tour if they are feeling sick. She said this applies to graduates and spectators.
Spectators are asked to maintain two-metre physical distancing at all times.
Spectators are also asked to leave the area as soon as the end of the tour passes by their location, and they can feel free to wear their own personal protective equipment, such as a mask.