As the sun began to set on June 17th, 2020, cars lined up to capacity with a graduate and family members: mom, dad, brothers, sisters, grandparents. They arrived eager & excited to witness a rite of passage from one step to another. They rolled in greeted by their school’s administration (Principal Kalipolidis & Vice Principal Khozozian) and met by Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board Commissioners Mr. Galati, Mrs. Kaliotzakis, Mr. Di Sano, and Director General Ms. Absolonne before being guided by staff to park in a physically-distanced manner from one another. The parking lot was filled to its maximum, windows were rolled down and sunroofs were fully open. Graduates sat on window ledges, stood through sunroofs and even sat on car roof tops. Those in convertibles had a 360-degree view. The stage was set; the 16’ x 9’ LED screen was hoisted up high and the sound system guaranteed everybody was able to hear from anywhere in the parking lot. Souvenir Elementary’s Grade 6 Drive-In ceremony was ready to roll.
No one left their car yet each graduate was singled out on screen, honored by all with many applause, cheers & honks. One by one their graduation picture and personalized diploma were viewed as the graduate waved to everyone from their car and was praised. The valedictorian and salutatorian speeches were pre-recorded and presented on the big screen and every other honor and award bestowed to a student was also displayed for all to see.
It was a picture-perfect evening. Ms. Kalipolidis told Laval News, “We believe that graduation is a time where students and families come first and this evening’s aim was to give a collective commemoration to be remembered by all for the rest of their lives. This underlying motivation inspired staff members to put together a creative, acceptable, original and memorable way for our 87 graduates to see to see each other, as a group, for one last time, to include their family, and be recognized for their achievement by maintaining the Ministry’s physical-distancing guidelines.” Souvenir Elementary’s objective to celebrate this milestone together was met even though at no time during the event did anyone shake hands or hug. There was a close-knit atmosphere felt by everyone on this important day. It made this special ceremony a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ unforgettable memory!