Dressed in dashing suits and flowing ball gowns, Fernie Secondary School’s graduates came together for a reverse grad parade on the evening of June 26.
While graduates typically attend the traditional grand march at the hockey arena, this year’s restrictions required grad committee leaders to get creative with celebrations. Following their live-streamed graduation ceremony, where students and faculty met for speeches and the receipt of scholarships and diplomas, the graduates collected outside the front doors of their school.
Lining up along the school loop, standing six feet apart across from their prom dates, an hour long procession of decorated vehicles drove past the graduates, congratulating them with honking horns, burning rubber, and words of praise. Parents of graduates, friends, and siblings all rode past, as did the fire department, a fleet of mountain bikers, and a number of representatives from local businesses.
By the end of the evening, hundreds of community members had come out to cheer on the graduates as they embark on new adventures. According to senior, Layne Corrigan, though there is always a large community turnout at the grand march, this year’s reverse parade set a new record for the amount of residents coming out to support the graduates.
The event was organized by grad committee leaders Krista Lampman, Sarah Pike, Melissa LaFortune, and Kim Stokie, who wanted to ensure the graduates were celebrated, having been challenged with the cancellation of many other special senior events. Originally, the committee wanted to organize an event where the graduates paraded as locals gathered for support. Acknowledging the difficulty of crowd control, Lampman came up with the idea of a socially distant reverse parade. Borrowing Jason Raymond’s party bus to blast music, the evening saw all the graduates dancing and smiling for hours.
“The grad parade was astonishing,” said graduate, Francesca Caravetta. “Seeing all my classmates looking very handsome and beautiful was very breathtaking, and it was staggering to see how much support we had from the community. My classmates and I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone in our community for coming out and supporting us and giving us some of the best memories we will have to look back on. We also want to thank all the parents that helped and contributed to setting the parade up for us, and to Jay Ray for bring out the bus and playing music for the class of 2020”.