Improving graduation rates is a challenge for Living Sky School Division, but Director of Education Brenda Vickers said the “Class of” campaign is looking good so far.
The project began last year, as the Class of 2030 was introduced to the public at McKitrick School. Class of 2031 celebrations recently took place at that school and in Lawrence School, with upcoming celebrations at Bready School and Connaught School.
Vickers said Superintendent of Learning Tonya Lehman and Office Manager/Communications Co-ordinator Shannon Lessard had a part in initiating the project.
“I think what I love about where we’re going with a lot of our strategic plan is its outside-the-box thinking and that’s exciting,” Vickers said.
The idea came from refraining from kindergarten graduations because, according to Vickers, “there’s only one grad […], and grad is in Grade 12.”
“So then people got their heads together and people thought of all the cool things we could do.”
Despite not really being a kindergarten graduation ceremony, the “Class of” presentations resemble them. Rather than gowns, students wear large T-shirts.
“The idea behind the shirts that are too large for the students is they’ll fit when the students reach Grade 12,” Vickers said.
Another motivating idea is “it takes a community to raise a child,” Vickers said. Vickers said Rob Rongve of Rongve, Gabruch, Schell and Weikle Wealth Management contributed to the campaign and sponsors buy the children books and give them experiences they might not otherwise have.
Next year, Vickers said, the school division would like to get more businesses involved.
Vickers said, compared to other classes, those participating in the “Class of” project have seen better attendance and better parental engagement.
“It’s really turned into more than anything we thought it would be,” Vickers said.
Photos from the McKitrick Class of 2031 celebration. Many students saw career prospects in protective services with several wanteing to be police officers or firefighters. Photos by Josh Greschner