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.
“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.
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.