West Kelowna  

Peachland graduate hosting outdoor ceremony on pier

Socially distanced grad walk

In a different world, Vangie Neyedli and her daughter Shenelle would be getting their hair done Saturday morning, in preparation for Shenelle's high school graduation from Mount Boucherie Secondary. But due to provincial COVID-19 restrictions that limit gatherings to 50 people, that isn't happening.

High school graduates across the province were disappointed when traditional graduation ceremonies were cancelled for the Class of 2020, in an effort to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Instead, Peachland resident Vangie Neyedli has decided to host a graduation ceremony for her daughter and close friends on the Ray Kandola Heritage Pier in Heritage Park later in the month.

“We thought why don't we just do our own little grad thing, our own little Peachland Pier walk, and then come back to our house and have our a little outdoor dance thing with [Shenelle] and her closest friends,” Neyedli told Castanet.

“And then I started started talking to people, and they were like 'It'd be awesome to have other people involved,' and I thought 'Why not, it's a public place.'

“It's going to be awesome to see lots of grads out there walking their six feet apart, and celebrate their grad.”

Neyedli posted the idea to the Peachland Neighbours Facebook group Friday, and it's received an outpouring of support.

While Shenelle's Mount Boucherie grad ceremony won't be happening Saturday, Neyedli has set their own "socially distanced grad walk" for the afternoon of May 30.

“This is a chance that she gets to put on her dress, we're doing her hair, her boyfriend is going to wear a suit with a matching bow-tie, just like we would if they went to real grad,” Neyedli said.

“I think it'd be awesome if people came out and watched and cheered them on. Even my daughter's grandparents are coming from Surrey to watch her walk.”

Neyedli has made a Facebook event to help organize the event, and get an idea of how many people are planning to show up. If the numbers get too large to be able to safely hold the event all at once, Neyedli said she may try and stagger the times, to keep the number of people walking across the pier lower.

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