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 Senn Gelinas of the Inquiry Hub wrote:
"When announced that we graduates would receive a greatly diminished ceremony that — instead of leaving with a bang — it would be more of a quiet fizzle out…we were disappointed.
"We all acclimatised to this situation differently. Mine was to focus on the practical: At least I’ll save $300 on a graduation dress.
"But with hindsight, I must admit those downtrodden feelings are a minor blemish upon four years of fantastically-whacky-chaotic-special moments.
"What is one disappointment compared to the character-building challenges that high school brings?
"It is thanks to my attendance at Inquiry Hub that I go forward with a spring in my step and confidence in my capabilities.
"I know greater things wait for me thanks to those here who encouraged my greatness.
"In the face of adversity, this community has demonstrated all the qualities Inquiry Hub has imbued within me: adaptability, resilience, determination and trust."