May 19, 2024

The Class of 2020 – Reflections and snapshots of the Graduates

By on October 15, 2020 0 748 Views

Even before COVID-19, the Class of 2020 came to know how to utilize the online world for education. Mostly born in 2002, the high school graduates are among some of the oldest of Generation Z, following the Millennials.

Most Gen Z grew up in a hyper-connected world who are more tech-dependent because they were born into a life with touch-screens, social media and apps.

So, when things shifted across the Wood Buffalo region’s school divisions in March 2020, many students have already had the tech experience to perform their online programs and at-home learning.

Some would agree it wasn’t ideal or the standard way to learn, but others adapted quickly and have even made the decision to continue their education in online formats moving forward in the school year of 2020-2021.

As for the traditional graduation ceremonies and celebrations of large gatherings that come with the official end to their school milestones, they were undoubtedly missed by all of the 2020 graduates.

But the schools’ staff and teachers got clever! They created drive-thru ceremonies, virtual graduations, front lawn grad signage and used as many tech tools possible to safely highlight their much-deserving students to send them off into their next stages in life.

YMM Parent asked proud parents across the region to submit photos of their graduates so we could honour them in this issue. From high school graduates to kindergarten grads (Generation Alpha), one thing is evidently shared by them all – their smiling faces!



Words from the Division Leaders

“We couldn’t let this important day pass by without celebrating our incredible students. Our staff and school leaders are working hard to ensure students have a memorable graduation experience despite current circumstances. It’s our way of thanking them for their patience and understanding, and congratulating them on this milestone achievement.”

—Jennifer Turner, Superintendent of Fort McMurray Public School Division, shared in the Division’s Class of 2020 virtual graduation plans announcement.

“We recognize that there are many unknowns in the world right now, but one thing we know for certain is that our graduates have worked tirelessly to make it to the end of their schooling journey. We want to celebrate this accomplishment now in a safe way.”

—George McGuigan, Superintendent of the Fort McMurray Catholic School Division, shared in the Division’s Class of 2020 alternative celebrations announcement.



Alexis Pritchett, 17
Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School

Allie Hanrahan, 18
École McTavish Public High School

Anna Dolling, 17
Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School

Anthony Aumont, 18
École Boréal Westwood High School

Avery Mapanao, 6
St. Gabriel Elementary School.jpg

Brooklyn Boyd, 17
Westwood Community High School

Catherine Lefrançois, 17
École Boréal Westwood High School

Danielle Bryan, 18
Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School

Faith Crummy, 18
Holy Trinity Catholic High School

Gabriella Tobin, 5
Good Shepherd Community School

Hans Gabriel Garcia, 17
Holy Trinity Catholic High School

Ian Greene, 15
Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School

Jackson Elliott, 18
Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School

Jacob Brenton, 17
Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School

Jacob Sacrey, 17
Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School

Jeffrey Chmilar, 18, & Gwyneth Norris, 17
École McTavish Public High School

Jordan Boucher, 18, & Eevee Widmore, 18
Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School

Josh Dohey, 18, & Brady Timmons, 18
École McTavish Public High School

Joshua Dean, 18
Westwood Community High School

Kelli Hodder, 6
Sister Mary Phillips School

Kyla Brake, 18
Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School

Liam Searle, 18
Holy Trinity Catholic High School

Lukas Barnett, 6
Timberlea Public School

Madison White, 17
Holy Trinity Catholic High School

Malak Ghadban, 17, & Mariam Ghadban, 17
Westwood Community High School

Matthew Walsh, 17
Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School

Paige Philpott, 18
Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School

Ryley Oliver, 18
Holy Trinity Catholic High School

Samuel Otti, 6
Sister Mary Phillips School

Sydney, 6
St. Martha Elementary School

Tanner Newport, 17
Westwood Community High School


Congratulations to all graduates of the Class of 2020!


Facts About The Class of 2020

The School Year of 2019/2020 will be recognized in history by the global effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. We thought it would be fun to look back at the graduates’ timelines to find some fun – and interesting – facts on the Class of 2020.

  • The Kindergarten graduates of 2020 will make up the vast majority of high school graduates in 2032. Technology predictions for the same year are claiming wearable tech (things like smartwatches, smart bands and glasses) will replace smartphones.
  • The high school class of 2020 is younger than SpongeBob SquarePants. The first episode of the yellow sea sponge was released on May 1, 1999. P.S. In case you missed it, Rodger Bumpass, the voice of Squidward, sent out words of encouragement to the Wood Buffalo Food Bank for their fantastic community efforts during the 2020 Flood.
  • The college class of 2020 is one of the last to be born in the ‘90s. The nineties were a time when people used dial-up services to access the internet, and when beeping and screeching sounds were normal background noises while they waited FOREVER to connect to a browser.


Confessions of a Class of 2020 Graduate

To have to finish a part of my academic journey during the pandemic left me with feelings of sadness, mainly due to something being unfinished that I left behind – an unfinished senior year and all of my memories. I will miss the environment, routine and faces at Westwood Community High School.

High school was an easygoing stage in my life. It was a crucial point of learning and developing a sense of my individuality, independence, and helped me prepare for the real world.

However, the pandemic caused changes to our hopes for prom and graduation. Though, the school staff at Westwood worked hard to give us our special moment with the Drive-Thru Graduation Ceremony. And, for that, I am thankful. I appreciate the support I gained throughout the years from the teachers who were like friends to me at Westwood.

Despite our expectations of prom or the graduation ceremony being different, I am still thankful for the senior events that we all shared before the pandemic.

Senior Theme Week was a time that will always be special. It took place in the first semester.

Even though the new school year brought stress, the senior spirit radiated through the hallways, and many of us participated. We have memorable pictures to look back to and remind us of our cherished high school days.

I believe that photography is beautiful for capturing the essence of a moment in time that can last a lifetime in the future, which always proceeds to grow in meaning as time passes.

I want to share something I learned out of this unique moment in time and how it created significance to my journey through life, a lesson that I will hold on to because of its simplicity.

We all hold expectations in life, especially towards milestone events or moments that we may only get to live through and experience once.

However, I believe there isn’t only one universal experience that can define satisfaction or contentment because our predetermined high expectations exist to create that gap in our lives.

When we have faced obstacles and our anticipated image is intercepted with the change, it creates an unfulfilling and incomplete feeling. Looking past that emotion is the fact that a unique experience holds an exceeding value.

We all have something unique added to an event in life, no matter how well planned or anticipated it may have been, and that is what makes it unforgettable.

I am glad to share the moment of ending this stage in my life, while I move on to the next with a unique set of external factors, shaping it into the unforgettable time it has been for us graduates.

Seventeen-year-old Mira Patel is a Westwood Community High School graduate and a former member of the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth’s General Assembly. As the recipient of her Class of 2020’s Premier’s Citizenship Award and the Robert Prather Award, she is currently a first-year student for Sciences at the University of Alberta.

About the author

YMM Parent Team is a collaboration of authors and contributors from in and around Fort McMurray.