Killarney grads to parade the town – on flat decks


Local grads will be celebrated with a difference this year – in a flat deck parade through town.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions these past months, the Killarney School staff and students wanted to find a way to both celebrate their big day – and yet keep everyone safe.

And father of one of the graduating students, Jeff Wall, helped come up with a novel idea for the teens. He literally got the ball rolling on the plan, after roping in members of the agricultural community. 

“We wanted more than just the ceremony,” said Wall, who works at Rocky Mountain Equipment in Killarney. “Someone suggested maybe we should have a parade, and I volunteered to line up transport. I know lots of farmers, and I always seem to put together the RME float, for Christmas, and for the summer parade.”

Wall soon had nine three-quarter-ton trucks, along with nine flat deck trailers, nailed onto his parade list.

“The trucks will pull the trailers, and we will have the grads on the trailers, probably on chairs,” he said. “I think we have everything we need. We’re working on the decorations now.”

Wall said that it was important to make the big event special, and on time, for all the students. Many were making their future plans, for either here at home, or away at college or university, he said.

“My son Owen is graduating this year, and he’s thinking about a career as an ag tech,” he said. “There had been talk about postponing the grad, and we were talking maybe December. This (parade) gives something to the students at the end of their classes, and it’s more traditional. A lot of these kids might not be around here in December.”

Another unconventional move this year involved setting up signs on the grad family’s lawn.

“They used some of their grad money to have these signs made up,” said Wall. “Cindy Kempthorne, who does decals and signs in Killarney, created the signs. They each have the name of a grad on them. They were ready last week, and most of them are up now. It’s up to the family where they go. Most of the students have theirs up already.”

The parade route is scheduled to begin at around 4:30 p.m. on grad day, Wednesday, June 24, said vice-principal Erica Hilhorst, as long as the weather permits. If not, the grad event will be rescheduled.

“It will begin at the school, and will end at the Shamrock Centre,” she said. “We will travel south on King, east onto Hamilton, then south onto Williams. We will pass Lakeview Villa, and Royal Manor, and I hope the residents there can come out and watch the parade on Williams Avenue.”

The trucks and trailers will then turn left onto Park, and right onto Ellis, passing Bayside, and then around the corner and north onto Hwy. 18, she said.

“They will then turn left onto Park, right onto Broadway, and go all the way down Broadway to the Shamrock Centre, which is where the parade will end. There’s lots of room there for the trucks and trailers to move around in,” she said.

And it should be a day to remember, in light of the world pandemic situation, and all the relevant restrictions on personal distancing.

“We want to make it as memorable for the kids as possible,” said Wall. “It will be a bit like the Santa Parade – but with our grads on board.”

CELEBRATING THE GRADS – Owen Wall (left) is just one of 31 grads this year from Killarney School. The graduating committee had personalized lawn signs like this one made up for each student, and proud families have put them up to celebrate the big event. Owen’s dad, Jeff Wall (right), has now lined up a team of trucks pulling flat deck trailers to parade the grads around town on Wednesday, June 24, after the ceremony at the school.

Drive-in style ceremony for 2020 grads

Extra precautions will ensure participants remain within the COVID-19 guidelines

By Erica Hilhorst

Killarney School’s Graduation Ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, at 3 p.m. 

However, if it looks like rain, the graduating class will be prepared for the ceremony to take place on any one of the days during the week of June 22 to June 26.  

Our ‘drive-in’ style graduation ceremony will take place in the green space on the school grounds.  

Families will remain seated in their vehicles in assigned spots, while the graduates are seated in chairs, spaced six feet apart, in front of the stage.  

The ceremony itself will be similar to past ceremonies that have taken place in the school.  The one major difference is that we are taking extra precautions to ensure we remain well within the pandemic guidelines.  

The ceremony will begin with the traditional processional.  Graduates will be called onto the stage one at a time, where they will receive their diploma, as well as any scholarships they have received.  

After the diploma presentations, the valedictorians will share their speeches, followed by the remaining speeches, which are traditionally shared at the banquet.  

The recessional will occur once speeches are complete.  

Next, each grad will remove their cap and gown and prepare for the grand march.  Graduates will walk across the stage for the grand march, and then weave in and out around the cars.  

The festivities will end with a parade through town.  Numerous community members have volunteered either trucks, or trucks and trailers, to parade the graduates through town.  

Through all of the many changes, this year’s graduating class, their parents, and their families have been most supportive, and have rolled with everything that has come their way.  

Our wish is for a beautiful graduation where each graduate can stand on stage, be the center of attention, and recognized for all they have accomplished.  We are going to make that happen.  

In order to keep our numbers within the approved range, we are unable to have our 2020 Graduation Ceremony or the school grounds open to the public.  

Each graduate is allowed two cars for their family and guests. 

To help celebrate our graduates, community members are encouraged to watch the graduate parade.  You can decorate yards, windows, or storefronts in any way that shows we are all in this together. 

In addition, a sponsored and beautiful Flower Wall is to be created on the day, and will be located by the main entrance to the school. 

It will be arranged on site in the early afternoon, by both Community Florist and Sweet Pea and Willow, and will later make a wonderful backdrop for memorable grad photographs.

See next week’s Killarney Guide for full coverage of the graduation ceremony, along with a special commemorative edition celebrating the Class of 2020.