As you may have noticed, things have been different in the last couple of years, and so has the way the Portage Learning & Literacy Centre celebrates graduates of their Mature 12 High School Diploma Program.

Laurie Collier, the lead teacher at the PLLC, talks about planning a group graduation for their 11 students graduating this year, noting it will be the first group graduation in two years.

Collier explains the changes that COVID has brought and how they are adapting to the new normal.

"We used to have our grad at a different venue. We've kind of chosen a smaller venue. We've chosen the multipurpose room at Stride Place. We want to take what we learned from COVID and our individual graduation ceremonies to be able to honour this milestone in a really personal way and on an individual level. That was something that was really special for the students."

Collier notes that the individual ceremonies they were forced to have due to COVID were somewhat of a blessing. She says they will take certain aspects of the solo ceremonies, such as staff members giving specialized speeches to each student and carrying that into the future.

"The grad will be a little bit more informal and more about the graduates themselves. They're welcome to invite as many family members as possible, and really, the celebration is more informal but still a heartfelt one."

The lead teacher adds that the program's number of students has been a challenge for the Mature 12 High School Diploma Program, but they hope that enrollment numbers will creep back up to pre-COVID times.

The ceremony will take place on June 28.