SGEI grads bringing the celebrations home

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

It’s coming up on the second graduation season under the spectre of COVID-19, and Seven Generations Education Institute (SGEI) is looking at new ways to keep the experience memorable for this year’s graduating class.

Even though a large-scale graduation ceremony won’t be going ahead this year – SGEI has used the Ice for Kids arena at the Memorial Sports Centre in the past – the institute recognizes that graduating from a post-secondary school isn’t something graduates will necessarily do more than once. In that spirit, SGEI has elected to go virtual with its ceremony this year, and is planning out ways to make the event special and unique to the graduates.

According to the SGEI website, the virtual convocation ceremony will take place on Thursday, June 10 at 4:00 p.m. local time. The virtual ceremony will be live-streamed, meaning that graduates and their families can celebrate together without worrying about social distancing or other COVID restrictions. Graduates registered for the convocation will also be able to invite their extended family and friends to watch the stream as well.

SGEI states the ceremony itself will feature a message from the institute’s CEO Brent Tookenay, along with “live drumming, an elder blessing, awards, diploma presentations and more.”

In order to further fine-tune the experience for graduates, the institute is asking the class of graduates to submit a celebratory photo and special message detailing each student’s plans for the future to use as part of the convocation ceremony. The deadline for photo submissions is June 4, and the institute notes it will use the standard student photo for anyone who has not submitted their celebration photo by that date.

Of course, part of the fun of graduating from any school is being able to dress the part, and SGEI has arranged for each of the 2021 graduates to take home a grad gown for the big day. Post-secondary graduates will be able to pick up their gown from the campus anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from June 8 to June 10, and secondary graduates will be notified when their gowns are available. Post-secondary graduates will also be required to return their gowns no later than 4:00 p.m. on June 11 or they will face a $115 replacement fee.

Graduation gifts will also be made available for pickup between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on June 11.

To help celebrate graduation, SGEI also published a blog post detailing some different ways to make the most of the event. The blog encourages graduates and families to have a digital celebration with friends and family over a web conferencing application like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, playing games like Pictionary or Charades together, jazzing up your living space with grad themed decorations, and making some of your favourite foods to really hammer home the celebratory spirit.

“The time has finally come,” SGEI’s message concludes.

“You’ve worked so hard all year and despite a global pandemic, unexpected changes and too many Zoom calls, you did it! We hope all of our graduates have a fantastic graduation.”

For more information about Seven Generations Education Institute’s 2021 virtual convocation ceremony, visit