Adèle Rivet will be finishing her secondary 5 in a few days at Sophie-Barat school in Montreal. She received confirmation on Monday that she and her comrades would not be entitled to a traditional ball. She is disappointed, but takes the announcement calmly.
I expected it, honestly. I would have liked to have a ball, yes, but for me, it’s not the end of the world.
Before the public health directives were sent out, his high school had already taken the lead and announced that there would be no prom yet this year, but a convocation would be organized. Classes will go one by one to the auditorium and diplomas will be awarded to graduates. Adèle’s parents will not be able to attend and the school has no plans to make this event accessible remotely, online.
But the day will still be special: Adèle bought a dress and a pair of shoes for the occasion and she intends to make the most of them as much as possible.
It would have been great to be able to be all together, our whole cohort, she said. But hey, that’s the decision that was made and I’m not going to dispute that.
At least, we will still have a little conclusion to our high school with this graduation ceremony, she consoles herself.
Mathilde Bélanger is finishing her fifth secondary at Collège Letendre in Laval. She also shows resignation.
It sure takes away our last hope of having a usual ball. But, since the beginning of the year, we are used to having disappointments.
His college had also already announced its colors a few weeks ago.
During a day of special activities, students will be invited by bubble class for a graduation ceremony in the auditorium. Parents will be able to attend remotely, by videoconference. Upon their return to class, snacks and beverages will be served.
Mathilde and her friends prefer to see the glass half full rather than half empty.
It’s better than nothing, she believes. When we compare ourselves with the graduates of last year, we console ourselves.
The question of the hour among his classmates: what outfit to choose for this particular day? Her class decided to go for a chic outfit – ball gowns for girls, formal wear for boys.
We’re still happy, even if it won’t be the best ball in the world. We are happy to have something that will mark the end of our high school, at least.
Emma-Rose Dufresne is about to leave Esther-Blondin College to go to CEGEP. She is a little more gloomy than Adèle and Mathilde. She still thought it was possible for a miracle to happen. Minister Roberge’s announcement on May 20, in which he briefly addressed the issue of proms, promising to quickly communicate more details on the subject, had revived some hope.
It’s sad. It’s a shame because we were starting to see the end of the tunnel, with our vaccination and all, she explains. We would have liked to be able to organize at least one supper, a gathering with our whole cohort, something.
The 16-year-old girl, her friends and her boyfriend got themselves a ball gown, just to be ready if the event ever took place. She shopped for her dress while wearing a mask, an experience she never thought she would have. But Emma-Rose is not sure if she will have the opportunity to wear it before the end of the school year. She is waiting to know what will be proposed by the administration of her school.
We spent our entire fifth year of secondary school in a pandemic. We’ve had nothing for a year. We hoped that the government would take that into account. But no.
The rigidity of the rules denounced
Parents of many graduates are much less understanding than their children.
Anne-Marie Bélanger, mother of a boy who is finishing his fifth secondary in a school in Lanaudière, is appalled by the decisions taken by the government, which she considers too restrictive.
By picking up her son from school at the end of the day on Monday, she was able to chat with other parents, just as angry as she was.
Anne-Marie Bélanger would have hoped that the government would find inventive solutions to allow the holding of some form of prom for young people like her son.
Photo : Romy Tremblay
With the number of new COVID-19 cases on the decline, the fact that our teens will have received their first dose of the vaccine for several weeks by the end of the school year, it’s totally incomprehensible.
It is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I find that our children are being made to pay dearly for this pandemic, she adds, bitterly. In recent weeks, she and other parents in the region had started a mobilization to try to convince the directors to organize an event that acts as a graduation party. The announcement of public health thwarts his plans.
Why not use rapid tests to screen young people before the ball is held? Why not just postpone it?, she wonders.
Everyone has been reinventing themselves for a year. Couldn’t we have reinvented the graduation party too?
Nathalie Tessier, also mother of a high school graduate, agrees.
I had a lump in my throat when I read the instructions, she says.
What is proposed is not sufficient. My boy, he will never be able to relive those precious moments!
She finds the decision to demand that the students stay in their bubble class excessive.
The government slices too square. My son won’t even be able to see his friends outside of his classroom. We give them almost nothing. He will leave high school with a memory of the COVID-19 pandemic, not of his school career or of his friends.
Sylvain Martel, spokesperson for the Regroupement des committees de parents autonomes du Québec, believes that the opinion of these two mothers reflects that of many parents.
We should have shown a little creativity! We are at the beginning of a deconfinement. And what we propose is a normal day or almost, but well dressed.
Sylvain Martel, spokesperson for the Regroupement des committees de parents autonomes du Québec, is disappointed that parents were not consulted about the criteria to be met for holding activities for high school graduates.
Photo: Radio-Canada / Courtesy of Sylvain Martel
There is a kind of double talk. In general, in the population, we seem to be on the way out of the crisis, we are in a plan of deconfinement. But at the level of high school graduates, there is no flexibility. It’s a bit contradictory. It’s two weights, two measures.
Mr. Martel regrets that the parents were not consulted in this reflection and fears that the decision to have opted for these directives which he describes as
strict or a double-edged knife.
By being too restrictive, we push our teenagers to a certain disobedience, he thinks. If we had allowed young people to have a ball, maybe that would have been enough for them. It is not because there is no ball organized at the school that the young people will not organize one. And there, it will be done without any supervision!
The Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, had indicated at a press briefing on May 20 that the terms concerning the prom would be communicated
very soon. It was finally 11 days later that this information was released.
But several school principals had been waiting for clarifications for weeks.
Chantal Longpré, director of the Esther-Blondin College, in Saint-Jacques, in Lanaudière, understands that the situation is constantly evolving and that it is therefore difficult for the government to give directives well in advance.
However, she is very happy to finally have details of what it is possible or not to do.
We were impatiently awaiting this information. Of course, we are barely three weeks from the end of the school year and we have many insecure students who want to know how it will unfold.
His team had prepared several scenarios in order to be ready to react according to what was going to be announced.
This information will allow him to make final decisions.
We are analyzing the directives in order to find the best solution to recognize as pleasantly as possible our students who are finishing their secondary 5., she says.
Parents will be disappointed because they will not be able to be there for the graduation ceremony, she continues. We will try to make it as accessible as possible. We are forced, we have no choice!
Nicolas Prévost, president of the Quebec Federation of Educational Institutions (FQDE), notes that its members had played cautiously in recent weeks, preferring not to make promises they could not keep to students and of their parents.
He confirms that high school principals are relieved to have received clear guidelines on which to base their decisions.
Nicolas Prévost, of the Quebec Federation of Educational Institutions, was not surprised to learn that the government had opted for firm measures on the issue of end-of-year activities for graduates from Quebec.
Photo: Pace – Courtesy of Nicolas Prévost
Could the instructions have arrived earlier? Yes, especially considering that the deconfinement game plan was announced by Prime Minister Legault for a while now.
He ensures that its members are hard at work to try to offer despite everything an interesting experience to their graduates.
We will use all the imagination possible to adapt and highlight this moment of importance, while respecting the rules in place, he promises.