More than 1,200 names have been posted on the front window of T’s Once Upon A Tea Leaf to celebrate this years graduates from across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. (Contributed)

VIDEO: Class of 2020 celebrated at T’s in Maple Ridge

Names of graduates across SD42 posted to celebrate their achievements

The names of more than 1,200 grads from across the school district have been put up in a window display downtown Maple Ridge to celebrate their success.

Black, white and gold balloons now fill the front window of T’s Once Upon a Tea Leaf with the names of each student printed on big white circles with the hashtag #UPLANGRAD2020.

The idea was a month in the making, said schoolboard trustee Kim Dumore who helped facilitate the UPlan a sub committee of the Youth Planning Table, which is a committee made up of youth in the community who work to engage and support the work of the youth strategy.

“One of the strategies under the youth planning table is to celebrate successes of youth in the community,” explained Dumore, and, she said, the group wanted to celebrate grad.

“It’s not been easy for these kids to land on a celebratory action item that could be completed based on COVID,” said Dumore.

However, she said, despite the adversity the group of 15 faced, they brainstormed the idea, planned it out and on Sunday helped blow up balloons and worked with the graphic designers to organize the graphics.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows grads will be celebrating virtually this year

“So, it’s really a youth-led initiative,” said Dumore.

Taryn Stephenson, co-owner of T’s, was honoured they were approached to help celebrate graduates in the community.

“It’s got to be pretty tough to be a graduate right now,” said Stephenson.

“You look forward to this and you work towards this and I really believe the strength of our youth also shows the strength of our community,” she said.

READ MORE: Dr. Bonnie Henry offers words of encouragement to B.C.’s 2020 graduating class

And, it was important that there was a place where they felt their achievements were recognized, noted Stephenson.

Graduates from across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows had their names placed on the window.

And now they are encouraging all grads to take a picture of themselves in front of the store with the hashtag #UPlanGrad2020, will be entered to win $200.

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Jacob Campbell and Aiden Scarcella work on the grad window at T’s Once Upon A Tea Leaf. (Contributed)

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