Mississauga school surprises students with ‘Grad Mobile Truck’ graduation ceremonies
TORONTO -- When Alexander Hrusa saw what was waiting for him outside his front door on Monday, he couldn’t believe it.
The Grade 12 student said that he thought he was going to miss out on his graduation this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but instead his school brought the graduation to him.
“I thought it was kind of crazy,” Hrusa told CTV News Toronto. “I didn’t expect anything like it.”
St. Jude’s Academy in Mississauga spent the day visiting the homes of their graduating students with a ‘Grad Mobile Truck.’
The idea for a roving Grad Mobile Truck was a team effort by the staff at St. Jude’s Academy, who say they wanted to mark this milestone in a special way, even in the midst of a pandemic.
“It’s a wonderful experience,” Hrusa’s father Patrick said as he watched his son receive his diploma. “I’m so proud of him. Look at him! 18 years in the making and going off to University next year.”
In addition to an individual ceremony, each graduate was given a cap, gown and personalized lawn sign.
“The biggest thing we want to take away is no matter what happens in the world, that we’re a school that cares for them,” Aaron Sawatsky, Head of School at St. Jude’s, said. “We’re going to do everything that we possibly can to make sure that they feel that there’s somebody there behind them sending them off into the world.”
The first student to receive a diploma and a visit from the Grad Mobile Truck was Vivian Wang, who was also named class valedictorian.
“I’m really surprised!” she said of the graduation ceremony at her home. “I thought I would just meet some teachers.”
Wang says 2020 has presented her graduating class with some unique challenges, but she hopes students will continue to focus on their ‘journey.’
“Think about your own future, and then work for that so that you will have a great life without any regret,” Wang told CTV News.
The St. Jude’s Academy Grad Mobile Truck is expected to visit around 40 students over four days this week.
Hrusa says the school’s initiative is lifting the spirits of students in a time of uncertainty.
“It’s been a difficult time and we’re all stuck in this,” he added. “Everyone’s stuck inside. But as long as your schools do as well as St. Jude’s has, and do types of graduations like these, it’s definitely worth it.”