To commemorate graduation and other scholastic milestones during the pandemic, the Blaine school district and the community are getting creative. Here are a few of the events coming up to celebrate local students.
With schools closed through the end of the school year by the governor’s stay-at-home order, the Blaine school district is holding a virtual graduation ceremony. The ceremony will air on the “Blaine School District, WA” YouTube channel at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 12.
What exactly happens on the virtual ceremony depends on when Whatcom County makes it to phase 2 of the state’s four-phase re-opening plan. If the county is in phase 2 by June 8 at 4 p.m., the ceremony would be recorded on June 10. Under that plan, students would receive a time to walk across a stage area and have their picture taken. The district would follow a strict schedule to reduce the number of students on campus at one time and to follow social distancing guidelines.
Whatcom County applied to move to phase 2 on June 2, and expected to be approved by June 4, according to a press release from the county.
The district is determining where the ceremony would be recorded and awaiting final guidance from the health department, district superintendent Christopher Granger said in a May 29 message on the school district’s website. It’s possible that some family members could watch their student receive a diploma.
“There remains a possibility for limited family viewing, and we will communicate the final plans as soon as possible,” he wrote.
If Whatcom County is still in Phase 1, graduation will be a virtual presentation of prepared slides for each student. That decision will be made no later than 4 p.m. on June 8, according to Granger’s message.
A group of parents of Blaine High School seniors have organized a drive-by event for Blaine seniors on Peace Portal Drive at 2:50 p.m. on Friday, June 12, hours before the virtual graduation ceremony and at the time when the last bell would ring.
Before 2:50 p.m., seniors will assemble on both sides of Peace Portal Drive south of Border Town Pizza, said Angie Dixon, who helped organize the event. Each senior will be assigned a spot on the sidewalk 10 feet from others. Family and community members can decorate their cars, drive down Peace Portal and honk, wave and show love to seniors.
“These kids have waited their entire lives for this moment, and parents have waited for this moment,” Dixon said. “We still want to see them have that moment.”
The organizers would prefer that people drive south down Peace Portal, Dixon said, and they ask that people do not stop or get out of their vehicles.
“Do not approach the student and please keep your vehicle moving,” a digital flyer about the event reads. “Be aware of slowing vehicles in front of you. We want to keep this safe and follow state guidelines.”
Seniors will receive a mask and a few surprises. BHS seniors who want to participate can RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, the Birch Bay Village community has organized a parade, only for high school seniors who are residents of the village, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 6. That parade stays in the village, and more information is available for village residents in the community’s June bulletin.
Eighth graders typically celebrate the end of their middle school years with eighth grade tea – a semi-formal event where students receive certificates. That’s not happening this year, but a community group organized a drive-by event in Birch Bay to celebrate eighth graders.
“Our group is just trying to make them feel special,” said Renie Hill, who helped organize the event with the BBSP Covid-19 Community Helpers group.
The parade is scheduled to start at Birch Bay Waterslides at 1:15 p.m. Families with eighth graders will meet in their vehicles in the parking lot at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, according to the group’s plan. The group urges people to decorate their vehicles to express Borderite pride. Community members and those who want to celebrate eighth graders can line Birch Bay Drive and help celebrate with banners, flags and noise.
At 1:15 p.m., cars will leave the waterslides with their eighth graders on board, drive south on Harborview Road to Birch Bay Drive and head south. At the C Shop, people are asked to turn east on Alderson Road and disperse for home.
Blaine eighth graders will still receive certificates. The district will mail those the week starting June 15, said district public relations specialist Lisa Moeller.