Final graduating class of Widdifield Secondary School celebrates with drive-by graduation ceremony
NORTH BAY -- Widdifield Secondary School in North Bay is closing in the fall. As the 2019-2020 school year wraps up, the class of 2020 is the final graduating school before it closes.
"Congratulations to all the graduates! Go Wildcats!" screamed graduate Angela Chippendale after she received her diploma.
Due to COVID-19, the school couldn't hold a formal graduation ceremony. Instead, staff organized a drive-by physical distancing bash.
The graduates and their families were able to snap a few photos in front of the school sign and also collect their diploma.
"I'm glad we got the chance to at least celebrate it all together and the staff did such a great job putting this together and they definitely did make it feel special," said graduate Melanie Brouse, after she picked up her diploma.
It's a bittersweet moment as the school is closing its doors, making this graduating class the final one at Widdifield.
"I want to say I'm going to miss Widdifield for sure, but I still get to celebrate with my friends," said graduate Nikos Desvraux.
"I liked a lot of my teachers," said graduate Liam Porter. "They were all so sweet to me."
Principal Alison Hurt said the students and staff had to face a lot of trials and tribulations this year, with the pandemic, teacher strikes and multiple snow days.
"For us, one of the life skills we know we try to teach them is to persevere and that's exactly what they did as Wildcats," said Hurst. "We're proud of them."
Graduate Leah Dawson is heading to Laurentian University in the fall to study kinesiology. She says without her friends and teachers at Widdifield, she wouldn't be who she is today.
"It's a little bit different, but I'm lucky we are having this formal graduation," said Dawson. "I want to congratulate everyone in my 2020 class."
Hurst says it's time for Widdifield's final graduating class to head off, follow their dreams and be the change they want to be for the next generation.