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 Carina Fota of Port Moody Secondary wrote:
"Being a senior during the pandemic wasn’t easy, as COVID-19 forced us to adapt to new ways of learning at home and at school.
"While isolation challenged us to study independently, it also encouraged us to cherish the little things; the time we spent laughing, learning, and supporting each other as a grad class.
"We will carry the memories forward into the next chapter of our lives.
"It was hard to accept that we will not have an official graduation ceremony, as we’ve been looking forward to it since the very beginning.
"However, we are extremely grateful for our teachers who organized our drive-by event so we can celebrate our graduation, making the most of our circumstances.
"We also look forward to spending time together during the summer as more and more of us are vaccinated!"