Chamber of Commerce and STRIVE YPG name the high school graduating class of 2020 honourary Chamber members

SSM Chamber 125 Years

The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC), in partnership with STRIVE Young Professionals Group, have named the 2020 Grade 12 graduating class in Algoma as Honourary Members of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce for the balance of 2020.

“COVID-19 has created considerable upheaval for students and it has been a particularly trying time for our high school seniors,” said Rory Ring, CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. “Sheltering-in-place and the need to shift to independent study have deprived students of both class time and face-to-face learning, not mention sports and normal daily social interaction with their friends. It has disrupted the manner in which they do schoolwork, and for our grade 12s in particular, it has led to a sense of uncertainty and stress about their post-secondary status and it has robbed them of their physical graduation ceremonies.”

The SSMCOC believes that this year’s high school graduating class deserves special recognition, noting that in addition to the sacrifices that they have had to make during what would be an important personal milestone, many grade 12 students with part-time jobs have also had to step up as members of our ‘essential’ workforce, stocking grocery store shelves, manning cash registers and drive-thrus, and preparing our take-out orders.

These students are the future managers, directors, professionals, skilled labour and entrepreneurs of our community.  The SSMCOC and its STRIVE YPG, along with sponsoring Chamber member businesses including PUC Services, Smyl’s Highland Ford, the Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation, and Soo Mill Buildall want to recognize the sacrifices and contributions to our community that our high school seniors have made during this pandemic.

In addition to being named Honourary Chamber Members, the SSMCOC has built out a special landing page on its website that includes resources for students as they enter the next stages of their education. Included is information on choosing a post-secondary school, OSAP funding, resources on apprenticeships and skilled trades, as well as links to our individual local and area high schools. The page features a special message to this year’s graduates from Sault Ste. Marie Member of Provincial Parliament, Hon. Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities.

“I look forward to working with the SSMCOC and its network to make sure these students have opportunities to stay home in Sault Ste. Marie. We need to work together to make sure these graduates are able to find good jobs and give them many opportunities to continue their studies while living in our community,” said Romano. “I am encouraged by some of the new ways of learning and communicating in response to COVID-19 safety measures and believe it positions our city very well to allow our students to take advantage of worldwide opportunities utilizing digital learning and communication technology while living at home in Sault Ste. Marie.”

“Thank you for your contributions to our community over the last few months, it has not gone unnoticed and must be recognized. Managing your work and school commitments during this time taught you valuable skills to use in your future endeavours. Congratulations to the class of 2020!” said Romano.

“If you know a 2020 Grade 12 graduate, please take a moment to congratulate them on a job well done, and thank them for their contributions to our community during these uncertain times,” added Ring.

The Student and Graduates page on the Chamber website can be found at