Staff at Christ-King Catholic School are making sure that students are honoured at this important time of year with two special events slated for June 10th and 11th.
“We are planning to host a Kindergarten Drive Thru Graduation on June 10th from 11-2:30 p.m. in our parking lot since we can’t do our normal one in the Church and Parish Hall,” said Tara McMillan, principal of Christ-King Catholic School.
“We will also be doing a Grade nine Farewell Parade on June 11th and we will leave the school at 5 p.m. We plan to tour around to each of their houses with a couple surprises to try and make up for the fact that we can’t host our actual Farewell event.”
Kindergarten teacher Shayla Schilling came onboard to her position right in the midst of the pandemic, so the graduation event will be that much more special as it will mark the first time she will be meeting her students face to face.
“At Christ-King Catholic School we would typically have a celebration at the church,” she said. “But due to the current circumstances, the Kindergarten graduation will look slightly different this year.
“But our students deserve to be recognized as they move onto Grade one. So we will have our Kindergarten Drive Thru Graduation on June 10th outside of the school. We have made guidelines for the students and the parents to follow according to the regulations.
“Parents have signed their child up for a time slot to receive a grad picture, a diploma and a gift,” she explained, adding that sanitation and social distancing procedures will of course be in place during the course of the event as well. “Also the CKCS staff will be there in a designated area to cheer on each individual student as they graduate from Kindergarten.”
As to working through such an unprecedented period of time due to the pandemic, Schilling said that she just started at the school a couple months ago.
“The staff and myself have been doing our absolute best to provide the best online education that we can for our students,” she said. “The parents and the students have also been doing wonderfully for what a new learning experience this has been with technology – just a ‘new normal’ really.”
Schilling started at the end of April, so it was an unusual beginning to a career. But it’s all been rewarding, even in challenging times.
“We’ve had to learn a whole new ‘technology side of things’ which we can implement into our classrooms,” she added. “So there are some positives!”
As to the June 10th event, Schilling is excited, as mentioned, to meet the youngsters in person.
“I have done Google Meets with them, so I feel like I’ve known them for a long time but I am very excited to see them,” she said. “I’m excited to see them and to celebrate their accomplishments.”
As for the older students, McMillan noted that the plans for this year can’t replace the normal events that would have been held.
“We put a lot into our Grade nine Farewell – it’s a big deal in our junior high every year.
“Our goal is to be able to connect with these kids and congratulate them because many of them have been with us since Kindergarten. We want them to know the love and support that we have,” she said. “We also want to celebrate their accomplishments with them.
“We are still going to have an event in the fall if we can, but we didn’t want June to go by without some sort of recognition for them.
“So on June 11th, the staff is going to meet here at the school and we are going to leave at 5 p.m. We have a pre-planned route to go to all of our grads’ houses. We will pull up and still maintain our social distancing. We also have a few surprises up our sleeves that we will be bringing,” she explained.
“We are also going to be bringing our school camera so that we can take pictures of the grads – we are encouraging them to dress up in the outfits that they had originally planned to wear for that day. We’ll get pictures of them with their families as well because we are going to be using those for our final recognition that we do at the end of the year when we talk about awards.
“We will also have a visit and just touch base with each of them.”
In the meantime, the pandemic has also been a time to reflect a bit as well.
“I think it’s really brought focus to that fact that at the core, our jobs are all about relationships. We often take that for granted when we see the kids every single day,” she said. “Now that that has been stripped from us, our goal over the past few months is of course that we want to educate them and provide that, but it’s also been about maintaining those relationships and trying to find that connection with the kids. That’s the basis of everything – in education, that is really what it’s all about.”
McMillan said staff have also had to think outside the box in terms of teaching. “We’ve tried so many different avenues and we’ve pulled in so much that has been so exciting for our kids. Things that will continue on when we get back to normal.
“It’s definitely been a learning curve but there have been positives in it. It has certainly cultivated that sense of creativity even more.”
Looking forward this month, there are also a number of other events planned at Christ-King.
The virtual Christ-King Catholic School talent show is slated to run June 8th and the McMillan 24 Hr. Bookroom Camp Out runs June 12th at 8 a.m.
“At the beginning of the year I always challenge students to so many hours of reading for our home reading program called the ‘Bookworm Club’,” she said. “If they can reach the goal by the end of the year, I will do something crazy. Last year I permanently dyed my hair rainbow colours. This year I told them that if they could reach 5,000 hours of home reading time, I would camp on the school roof for 24 hours. Looks like I’m headed to the roof on the 12th!”
A special Christ-King Catholic School Goodbye runs June 22nd from 1 to 3:30 p.m. as well.
And finally to wrap things up, there will be a Virtual Christ-King Catholic School Celebration of Learning event on June 26th with report cards being released that day as well.
“For the CKCS Goodbye, we are planning to have a fun activity that students can come to the school, do quick, grab a treat and head home,” she said. “It will be our way of giving them a chance to say goodbye to us and us a chance to say goodbye to them.
“And for the Celebration of Learning, we always have a year-end assembly where we present awards to our kids. This year we will be making the award announcements virtually.”
For more information, call the school office at 403-742-0280 or find them on Facebook at ‘Christ-King Catholic School’.