SASKATOON -- Thirteen years of classes, homework, grades, and tests are coming to an end for high school students around Saskatoon.

Despite a pandemic slowing things down, graduation will still be taking place.

For many, graduation will be taking place digitally, like at Marion Graham Collegiate and St. Joseph High School, with recorded videos of students walking across the stage to receive their diploma.

St. Joseph valedictorian Rachel Rawlyk said she is nervous to be giving her speech, but having to do it in front of a camera instead of a crowd of hundreds makes things a bit easier.

Rachel said that students have been adapting to the change in their education due to the pandemic and a virtual graduation wont stop them from enjoying their moment.

“I’m really excited to get that diploma and shake principal Thorson’s hand, and just think about all the hard work I’ve put in over the last four years, and still get some kind of recognition for completing them.”

Although Rachel isn’t getting the same experience as a year without a pandemic, she is grateful that her education could continue despite all of the changes.

“Having older siblings, I know exactly what I’m missing out on, which isn’t the greatest, but at the same time, after going online for the short portion of the remainder of last year, I’m super grateful to be at school right now,” Rachel said.

Rachel’s mother, Sherry, shares her daughter’s feelings about the switch from the norm and is excited to celebrate her daughter’s accomplishments.

“COVID can’t take away your diploma, it can’t erase 13 years of hard work and education. That’s a milestone, no matter how you celebrate it,” Sherry said.

Marion Graham principal Karen Peterson said students at her school have been adapting to the pandemic well - and she is excited to have graduation still taking place.

“It’s really important for us to give our students a chance to celebrate the end of their formal education,” Peterson said.

“Grade 12 looked vastly different without extra-curricular and without some of the social pieces that I think we’ve all grown to realize that school provides. It’s more than just a house of academia.”

Peterson said this year’s graduation will look similar to last year’s, with a bit more experience on the technical side of things.

The virtual gradation at St. Joseph will be taking place on June 24 and at Marion Graham on June 23.