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 what Peyton Arndt of Gleneagle Secondary wrote:
"If I were to tell myself in Grade 9 that I would be graduating through an international pandemic, I would have never believed it.
"It has truly been something new and unprecedented that we have all had to adjust to, and it has not been easy for anyone.
"Because of this pandemic I have started taking time to appreciate the little things a lot more than I used to because you never know when those things could be taken away.
"It has been difficult for the graduates this year with the pandemic in an already stressful year, but I am extremely proud of all of us for rolling with the punches and still being successful despite the once in a generation challenges being thrown our way.
"I am grateful to be the valedictorian for such a strong and resilient class!"