July 15th, 2024

Victoria Park students ready to celebrate

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on June 11, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Students from Victoria Park High School will have the opportunity to cross their individual stages to acquire their hard earned certificates next week at Henderson Lake Park.
Because of the needs and preferences of the students at Victoria Park High School, they have designed individualized graduation ceremonies for each student and their circle of supports. 
The individualized format is designed to recognize the student’s efforts and to honour them by those who have supported them through their educational journeys and personal lives.
Victoria Park High School principal Cayley King said they are an outreach school under Alberta education, which means that they provide alternative programming for high school students and that typically means that they work with students who have not found success in the traditional schools.
“Our strategy that we use in supporting students is to approach every single individual learner as someone who needs their own unique programming and their own pathway to high school completion graduation,” said King.
She said they meet with every student individually and create a pathway to graduation.
“By the time they get to grad they may not have taken the same road that other students would take,” said King.
She said some of their students have faced different challenges. One of them is anxiety, which is why their students do not all go to school together as a large group.
King added that large groups is very often one of the predominant reasons that students are unable to find success in the larger schools.
“We decided that we would take a look at how we’re celebrating the students, because we found that over the years a number of students would not attend the graduation ceremony or the celebration components when we had them set up the way that the traditional schools do,” said King.
She said many of their students do not want to cross the stage, be in front of or be recognized in front of a large group.
“When we had COVID, we had to figure out ways to do it. We couldn’t gather in large numbers, we needed to gather outside and we needed to meet all of the Alberta Health criteria and so we worked with students to come up with a plan that allowed us to set up individualized graduation ceremonies,” said King.
She said that even though it started due to COVID, when restrictions were lifted they surveyed a number of students and decided to continue with individual ceremonies.
The ceremonies will take place on June 15 – 16 from 9:40 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. with two ceremony locations running simultaneously at Henderson Lake.
Ceremonies will run every 20 minutes, regardless of weather, and are open to all invited guests of the graduating student.

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