Belmont Secondary grads celebrate the end of high school

Belmont Secondary graduates Jasmyn Loo, Jacklyn Halaburda, Ashley Bilachand Isabella Wheaton celebrate the end of their high school careers. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)Belmont Secondary graduates Jasmyn Loo, Jacklyn Halaburda, Ashley Bilachand Isabella Wheaton celebrate the end of their high school careers. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Amber Druken said she’s thought about her graduation ceremony since she was a young girl and is happy she was able to cross the stage this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)Amber Druken said she’s thought about her graduation ceremony since she was a young girl and is happy she was able to cross the stage this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Keagan Tait was Belmont Secondary’s valedictorian. He said his graduating class will always be unique because they were able to get through the COVID-19 pandemic together. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)Keagan Tait was Belmont Secondary’s valedictorian. He said his graduating class will always be unique because they were able to get through the COVID-19 pandemic together. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Josh Mandryk and Haley Mandryk said it feels good to be done school. They plan on job hunting now that high school is over. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)Josh Mandryk and Haley Mandryk said it feels good to be done school. They plan on job hunting now that high school is over. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Scott Kenning, Jaden Joseph and Spencer Logan said it’s nice to be done high school and see what comes next. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)Scott Kenning, Jaden Joseph and Spencer Logan said it’s nice to be done high school and see what comes next. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Belmont Secondary graduates Jasmyn Loo, Jacklyn Halaburda, Ashley Bilach and Isabella Wheaton show off their graduation caps after their pandemic-friendly graduation ceremony. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)Belmont Secondary graduates Jasmyn Loo, Jacklyn Halaburda, Ashley Bilach and Isabella Wheaton show off their graduation caps after their pandemic-friendly graduation ceremony. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Despite COVID-19 changing things up for students this year, Belmont Secondary graduates were all smiles as they celebrated the end of high school with a pandemic-friendly graduation ceremony.

Streamers and signs congratulating the class of 2020 added colour to Langford’s Westhills neighbourhood on Tuesday for the first day of graduation ceremonies. Students dressed in cap and gown arrived in groups to participate in small ceremonies where they watched a video and walked across the stage to receive their diploma.

Outside in the school parking family and friends gathered to cheer on the new graduates and take photos with them.

Valedictorian Keagan Tait was met by classmates chanting his name in the parking lot. He said it’s exciting and nerve wracking to enter the “real world.”

READ ALSO: West Shore principals hope strength and community mark 2020 grad

Tait will be working on his aunt and uncle’s farm up Island this summer and will be working at the House of Commons in Ottawa this fall.

In his valedictorian speech, Tait said he talked about supporting one another as a community, particularly because of the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19.

“It’s also an opportunity for us to shape our lives and the world around us,” Tait said. “We are the next generation coming up so it’s sort of up to us to take on current or old problems and I think we’re the right people for the job.”

READ ALSO: West Shore student petitions for more than a video graduation ceremony

In May, Sooke School District students received the news that graduation events would be cancelled due to COVID-19. Upon finding that out, Belmont student Brianna Gruber put together a petition that garnered nearly 5,000 signatures to have some sort of graduation ceremony.

Shortly after, SD62 announced students would be able cross a stage in graduation garb to commemorate the end of their high school career.

Amber Druken said being able to have a ceremony was exciting.

“It feels really rewarding,” Druken said. “I’ve been wanting this for so long … as a little girl watching movies you always expect a graduation ceremony … I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

Druken plans on getting a job next year and will be working on academic upgrading so she can study marine biology in university.

Other graduates said they had plans on working, going to school and most importantly, enjoying the summer.

The graduation ceremony at Belmont Secondary continues on June 24.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Belmont secondaryCoronavirusGraduation 2020SD62

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A spokesperson for the Peninsula Country Market is upset that their third and final Winter Market won’t happen this Saturday in Central Saanich’s Centennial Park following moves by the municipality. (Facebook/Peninsula Country Market)
Central Saanich postpones weekend Winter Market, organizers upset

Lorea Tomsin said municipality’s move runs counter to provincial direction

As cyclists and pedestrians pass by at Humboldt and Government streets, a garden of blooming black-eyed Susans brightens up the northwest corner of the Fairmont Empress Hotel property on a partially sunny November afternoon. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Keep your umbrella handy for the next while around Greater Victoria

November has lived up to its reputation as one of the rainiest months of the year

Peninsula Panthers' owner and general manager Pete Zubersky questions the decision-making process leading to the suspension of play in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). (Black Press Media File)
Peninsula Panthers’ owner questions process behind suspension of Junior B hockey action

Pete Zubersky does not understand actions of provincial body administering amateur sports

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming moves to the role of transportation minister in the NDP’s new cabinet. (B.C. government file photo)
Greater Victoria MLAs claim key roles in new cabinet

Transportation, Indigenous relations, children and family development ministries headed by locals

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from daycare in Nanaimo

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Cortes Island First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Klahoose First Nation has had one positive test, one other potential case

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Light Up parade a no-go, but Ladysmith’s streets are still all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Most Read