This month, Tri-City News asked high-school valedictorians in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody to describe what it's like to graduate in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic — and without an official ceremony.
Here's a response from Maya Tharp of Heritage Woods Secondary:
"Right before lockdown, my science class watched the film Contagion. Little did we know our lives would become some variation of the film, lasting through our graduation year.
"Without regular grad activities, many Grade 12 students often forget that they are graduating. Our grad council has worked hard to celebrate by designing grad wear and organizing spirit days, but restrictions have made it hard to bring our grad class together.
"Despite these challenges, my classmates have proven that nothing can stop them from doing amazing things like opening community libraries, publishing magazines and starting non-profit organizations.
"Though our grad ceremony will be an outdoor, drive-by with the 15 people in our alphabet groups, I am grateful to be getting some form of graduation. As unpredictable as our grad year has been, we made it to the other side and are ready to start the rest of our lives."