It wasn’t your conventional graduation ceremony, but staff at Mangilaluk school — along with the entire hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk — pulled out all the stops to ensure its nine graduates had a magical send-off.
Over the course of June and culminating in a June 26 parade throughout town, the graduation in its entirely will be available on a video broadcast online and designed for the graduates.
“It was not a traditional grad, but it was a virtual grad,” said Principal Ephraim Warren. “If you look at the video, you can tell that step by step they had their graduation.
“We had a vote and the girls decided they wanted to have it at the end of June.”
Because of physical distancing requirements, the nine graduates had to get their hair, nails and gowns worked out separately. Hence, Warren explained, the process took a lot longer than it normally would. However, he said it was all worth it.
Numerous speeches were pre-recorded for the video as well, with contributions from Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Beaufort Delta Education Council and many others.
Individual photos were taken for each grad at the school and the celebration was crowned with a hat toss at edge of the Arctic Ocean before just about the entire hamlet came out to celebrate their accomplishment, either by joining the parade through town or cheering the grads on from their doorsteps.
Warren said the parade was 58-vehicles strong. He expressed his thanks to the community, the hamlet, fire department and RCMP for their contributions, but especially praised the teachers of Mangilaluk school put in serious hours to help the girls graduate.
“It was a full-team effort,” he said. “Our high school teachers worked all around the clock to get our graduates the time they needed to get their credits.
“Some nights, our teachers were working with grads until after midnight. I remember one night a teacher was up until 1:30 a.m. They would get texts at 3 a.m. asking for help.
“They were very good at adapting their time to meet the needs of our grads.”
Inuvik Drum would like to extend its congratulations to the graduates.