OPINION: After 20 years with kids in Delta’s school system, September is going to be different

My youngest son is part of the Class of 2020, which seems like the forgotten year we’ll never forget. The school has done a great job with the restrictions it was under, but it won’t be the same as my other kids’ graduations.

The red carpet walk. The big grad ceremony. The dry grad. All the events that mark such an important milestone in a young adult’s life, the transition from being a kid to being a grown up, can’t be held, replaced by a virtual grad instead. There will be a special place in history for these kids – they will forever be able to say they were the Grad Class of COVID-19. As long as we aren’t still in this mess next year.

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I’ll never forget the first day of kindergarten for our oldest son. The school was just across the street, but for my wife and I, it could have been a continent away. We made the choice of having one parent stay home with our kids, and ran a small daycare out of the house (my wife had her ECE licence). For the first time (except for pre-school, I guess) he was going to be someone else’s responsibility. It was a big step for us.

I don’t know how we made it through the couple of hours he was gone, but he hardly noticed. He was with his friends, it was a great little school and the teacher was wonderful. That was September of 2000.

I remember on that first day thinking about the year he would graduate, how far away in time it was. That day came and went, as it did for his sister. When my youngest was born, we calculated he would be in the Class of 2020. And now he has walked the hallowed halls of SDSS for the final time.

It will be very different in September, regardless of the classroom situation. I won’t have Parent Connect logins, I won’t have an inbox full of messages of the things I need to take care of before school starts.

I’ll never have another parent-teacher conference. I’ll have to be proactive to get my poinsettia or my Purdy’s chocolates for the fundraising programs. No more school yearbooks, no more report cards.

For two decades, we had planned vacations around school breaks, planned my schedule to be around for Christmas concerts and other events, made sure we were out the door by 8:15 a.m. to be at school on time. And now, I don’t.

Post-secondary has been in full swing for a while. We’ll have our first graduation coming up. I spent 10 years in post-secondary education, both full- and part-time. I still have nightmares around September, about missing classes or showing up to an exam for a class I never attended. Maybe those will fade away now, with any luck.

To all the teachers my kids have had over the years, I thank you. We are lucky to have great schools and fantastic teachers in Delta. A special thank you to Barry and Leticia for all your help.

Congratulations, Class of 2020. The world you enter might be a strange place now, but it will get better. And then your kids will finish high school, it will seem strange all over again!

Brad Sherwin, MBA is a long-time resident of South Delta, and has over 30 years’ experience in marketing, public relations and business strategy. He teaches marketing at Douglas College, coaches hockey goalies and is past president of Deltassist.

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