Mikaela Stolz (red dress) and other G.W. Graham graduates mingle during their formal photo shoot in the lobby of the school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Mikaela Stolz (red dress) and other G.W. Graham graduates mingle during their formal photo shoot in the lobby of the school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

PHOTOS: Prom replaced with formal photo shoots, virtual grad ceremonies in Chilliwack

Prom dresses, suits put to use during formal grad photo shoot at G.W. Graham

There was no prom for Chilliwack graduates again this year, but local high schools didn’t let their students’ fancy dresses and smart suits go to waste.

On Tuesday (June 8) G.W. Graham middle secondary school’s lobby was transformed into a makeshift photo studio with a handful of backdrops and cameras on hand to snap photos of Grade 12s in their finest attire.

It was all part of G.W.’s formal photo shoot event for its 316 grads.

Ella Duncan (left) dons a sequin mask – which matched the prom dress she wore – while hanging out with friend Kelsey Trottie in the lobby of G.W. Graham for the school’s formal grad photo shoot on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Ella Duncan (left) dons a sequin mask – which matched the prom dress she wore – while hanging out with friend Kelsey Trottie in the lobby of G.W. Graham for the school’s formal grad photo shoot on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

G.W. Graham graduates pose during their formal photo shoot in the lobby of the school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

G.W. Graham graduates pose during their formal photo shoot in the lobby of the school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

G.W. Graham graduates (from left) Lina Woodrow, Madison Savard, Haylee Liske and Katie Burgess pose during their formal photo shoot in the lobby of the school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

G.W. Graham graduates (from left) Lina Woodrow, Madison Savard, Haylee Liske and Katie Burgess pose during their formal photo shoot in the lobby of the school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Both the graduating class of 2020 and the class of 2021 have had different graduation experiences, said G.W. Graham principal Chuck Lawson.

Typically, there are a number of events for the Grade 12s throughout the school year, and although there was no prom or commencement last year (2019/2020), the graduating class did get some group celebrations in before COVID-19 hit.

That wasn’t the case this year.

So, the staff wanted to do something special for the Grade 12s of 2021. They wanted to give them as much of the prom-night feel without actually going to prom, and they wanted the students to remember it.

For a few hours that morning, small groups of teens in prom dresses and suits gathered for photos with friends.

From left, principal Chuck Lawson, student Valerie Grenier and Lisa Ego pose for a photo during G.W. Graham’s formal photo shoot in the lobby of the school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

From left, principal Chuck Lawson, student Valerie Grenier and Lisa Ego pose for a photo during G.W. Graham’s formal photo shoot in the lobby of the school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Riley Bickley (left) and Mikaela Stolz pose during G.W. Graham’s formal photo shoot as part of the school’s graduation events in the lobby of the school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Riley Bickley (left) and Mikaela Stolz pose during G.W. Graham’s formal photo shoot as part of the school’s graduation events in the lobby of the school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

G.W. Graham graduates pose during their formal photo shoot outside the school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

G.W. Graham graduates pose during their formal photo shoot outside the school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

When the kids look back on those photos, it’ll be clear just when the images were taken, because what other year would you find teenaged girls in prom dresses with matching sequin masks?

This year, about 1,000 public school Grade 12s were handed their high school diplomas. Here are the grad class sizes for 2021: Chilliwack secondary – 343; G.W. Graham – 316; Sardis secondary – 310; Kwíyeqel secondary – 34.

From left, Trinity Dawn Sciazza, Gavin Thomas, Manraj Sandhu, Daniel Stolee and Quinn Thomson were some of the 70 Chilliwack secondary financial award winners on Thursday, June 4, 2021. (Chilliwack secondary school photo)

From left, Trinity Dawn Sciazza, Gavin Thomas, Manraj Sandhu, Daniel Stolee and Quinn Thomson were some of the 70 Chilliwack secondary financial award winners on Thursday, June 4, 2021. (Chilliwack secondary school photo)

Carter Alleman walks with his mom, Dee Alleman, during the Chilliwack secondary (CSS) financial awards ceremony in the school’s courtyard on June 4. Carter received the District Authority Award for Excellence in Physical Activity for $1,250. He was one of 70 CSS students who got awards that night totalling $300,000 which were all handed out by the teens’ parents. (Chilliwack secondary school photo)

Carter Alleman walks with his mom, Dee Alleman, during the Chilliwack secondary (CSS) financial awards ceremony in the school’s courtyard on June 4. Carter received the District Authority Award for Excellence in Physical Activity for $1,250. He was one of 70 CSS students who got awards that night totalling $300,000 which were all handed out by the teens’ parents. (Chilliwack secondary school photo)

Isabella Bedard and Ryder O’Brien present a tribute to the parents of Sardis secondary’s graduates during the school’s 2021 virtual commencement ceremony. (Sardis secondary school photo)

Isabella Bedard and Ryder O’Brien present a tribute to the parents of Sardis secondary’s graduates during the school’s 2021 virtual commencement ceremony. (Sardis secondary school photo)

Right: Valedictorian Patrick O’Donnell delivers his speech to his fellow graduates of Kwíyeqel secondary (formerly The Ed Centre) on Tuesday, June 1. (Kwíyeqel secondary school photo)

Right: Valedictorian Patrick O’Donnell delivers his speech to his fellow graduates of Kwíyeqel secondary (formerly The Ed Centre) on Tuesday, June 1. (Kwíyeqel secondary school photo)

Grad decorations at G.W. Graham middle secondary school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grad decorations at G.W. Graham middle secondary school on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Check out the June 11, 2021 print edition of The Chilliwack Progress for a special grad section.

RELATED: Unique commencement ceremony as Chilliwack students graduate in small groups in 2020


 

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Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
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