By Robin McGeough
For newcomer youth in particular, a high school diploma is a key to open many doors in their new home. “After graduating, my life is completely different,” explains Hassan, a recent Spectrum High School graduate and ICA Youth Group member. “I get to make my own choices. It’s a big chapter in my adult life.”
While so much has shifted in our lives in the last four months, one thing that certainly remains the same is the need to celebrate a job well done. For many Grade 12 students, this time of year ushers in a sigh of relief and a swell of elation as they walk across the stage at their graduation.
Due to the need for physical distancing, graduations around Victoria are looking a little different this year. From Drive-by Graduate Parades to Zoom graduations en masse, students and faculty are showing their true colours by remaining flexible and in good spirits despite the changes to their big day.
The ICA Youth and Family Services team is excited to see our newcomer youth prepare to celebrate their big day. To graduate in a new country with new courses and a new context is no small feat and we are extremely proud of all their accomplishments. Over the month of June, we met with our ICA grads and their families to photograph their special day and create a memento to celebrate their achievements. We are grateful to our ICA Volunteer photographers Kirk, Mohanned and Gavin for their help capturing their special moments.
Nadine, a recent graduate from Victoria High School and member of the ICA Youth Group, graduation is a celebration of hard work paying off. “I am the lastborn child in my family and the first one to graduate from high school. I am so proud of myself for the effort I put into my studies. The result was great memories and great results.”
Despite her family not being in Canada to see her celebrate the big day, she mentioned that she is grateful to get to share it with the community she is building in Victoria. “I have friends and the ICA Youth Group Leaders to always support me and make me happy when I’m not,” she explains.
As our community begins engaging in small groups, the ICA Youth and Family Services will continue to celebrate our clients’ achievements and build community through a blend of online and small-grouped activities over the summer.