School staff working hard to make grad great

With the future of the 2013/14 school year still up in the air, district staff have rolled up their sleeves to give grads a nice year-end experience.

Richmond Board of Education chair Donna Sargent said Tuesday that while teachers are on strike, others in the district are working hard to make the best of things.

The show must go on, Sargent said.

And that means valedictories, awards nights, dry grad parties, and graduation nights are going ahead.

"We're trying to keep things as regularly scheduled as possible," she said.

Teachers are a vital part of the team that makes high school graduation such a special annual right of passage for local teenagers.

The absence of teachers is "hugely impactful on our students," Sargent said.

Stepping in to the void is administrative staff, who are doing the work alongside students planning for their future.

For this year's crop of graduates, there are lessons to be learned from what's unfolding before their eyes.

While the B.C. Teachers Federation and the provincial government can't come to terms on a collective bargaining agreement, there remains dialogue between the two.

As long as there's communication, there's hope, Sargent said, adding that she hopes the talk is at the bargaining table, rather than bargaining in the media.

"I think everything in life is a lesson."

But at the same time, Grade 12 students have worked their entire lives toward this point.

"This is really difficult for students, because they have an end game," Sargent said.

Sargent remains hopeful that the two sides will come together, and the strike will soon come to an end.

In the meantime, plans are being made for a worst-case scenario, especially for students at Garden City Elementary and Spul'u'kwuks elementary who have a balanced school calendar, as well as the summer school and international summer programs.

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