Superior Heights Parent Launches Petition for “Heartfelt Graduation Ceremony”

Image courtesy of the Algoma District School Board

SaultOnline was contacted over the weekend by a graduating student’s mother, Holli Wierzbicki Devoe, at Superior Heights Collegiate and Vocational School. She recently launched an online petition aimed at providing students with “a more appropriate and heartfelt graduation ceremony.

With the current pandemic forcing a number of schools to look at less traditional options to help students celebrate their well deserved milestone, many have chosen to explore virtual graduations.

“This is a petition for the 2020 Graduating class of Superior Heights Collegiate & Vocational School. I am starting this petition in regards to the “Virtual Graduation” Superior Heights plans on hosting for the 2020 Graduating Students. Schools really need to think outside the box on this. These students have worked hard to achieve their diploma and deserve more than a virtual graduation. We understand these times call for a non traditional graduation but I believe this idea of going virtual is a cop-out. This can still be done with social distancing if we put our minds to it and come up with a better idea. How about the football field at Superior Heights? Outdoor, social distancing and just enough to walk up and receive that diploma and the recognition each and every one of these kids deserve! Please hear me and so many more when we say do something better for 2020 graduating class of Superior Heights!”, states Holli on her petition page.

Her target for the online petition is 200 signatures, already garnishing 139 as of this morning. In addition, the petition is attracting a number of creative alternatives and suggestions for area high schools.

“The kids should have their graduation. Why not in a open football field chairs spaced apart limit people as far as decorations go line up friends, students, parents nice cars as in sports car, classics, big trucks and bikes with lights on just put paper over the lights for different colors. I’m sure there is way different ways of doing it but they should have it . Have people make nice masks for the dance part.”, stated Wayne Maki.

“My niece, her friends and peers have worked hard to get to where they are. They deserve a real graduation with social distancing and safety measures in place. The school board can do that and should do that! If people can gather to shop safely at grocery stores, hardware stores, take-out, eat on patios and protest… then the students can gather safely to have a graduation. To celebrate the last part of their adolescence before heading off to adulthood is the right thing to do. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I believe the graduates would be just as happy to see each others faces, be called to get their diploma (even if they have to pick it up off a podium or table), and receive the closure they deserve to have! Other schools are doing it within Ontario and the country. Sault Ste. Marie (with very low cases) can do it as well!”, commented Robin Wierzbicki.



  1. This is very hard for all those who are graduating this year! I understand that everyone should feel proud of his or her accomplishments and want to or not want to cross the stage and have a little party. Ford/Lecce/Trudeau are keeping in mind the safety of ALL people. Yes I would love to be at a graduation yet I also would like to make sure everyone is safe. Lately I see a lot of people not adhering to social distancing which makes me feel upset as it seems like a joke to some. Here in the Soo we have taken precautions to prevent the spread and we have been very good at it thus far. Lets keep that going! Congratulations graduates!

  2. So the mall can open and a grocery cashier can hand me a receipt but the principal cannot hand these kids a diploma and they cannot have a graduation!? This pandemic is really messed up. everyday more bullshit from Ford and Trudeau. I feel for these kids 😞

  3. No one is arguing that every student graduating this year deserves a ceremony to recognize their accomplishments. However, I think the severity of the current circumstances should be considered. As well, it should be considered that by not having a virtual graduation, grandparents or family memebers who may be immune compromised, could be at risk going to a place with hundreds of people and should not be forced to do so. This is especially true when under normal circumstances they would be able to attend an in person graudation. An in person graduation during this time risks excluding important people to the graduates, while a virtual graduation continues to allow for everyone to attend.

    • Nobody is disputing the severity of the situation. The fact that Sault Ste. Marie has very few cases, being outdoors, social distancing, wearing a mask is what should be considered. As for other family members, grandparents, etc. It would definitely be nice to have them there in a world we once knew and hopefully get back to, however this is for the graduates. Those are the ones missing out. If it could only be graduates and two guests then so be it. I would be sad that I couldn’t be there to watch my niece (who’s like a daughter to me) get her diploma, however I also know that means more to her than anything. To me that’s everything. I would gladly step aside if it meant her being able to have her moment for all her hard work.

  4. So is St. Mary’s, unfortunately I don’t think they’re going to change their minds with one week to go before their “virtual “ graduation. I’m sure they have all put a lot of effort into it, but we all know it’s not the same. And they won’t get a do over in the future either. Too bad they can’t graduate at John Rhodes or the field at St. Mary’s. ☹️🎓

    • Even if it is too late to not go ahead with the Virtual Graduation, so be it… this would allow the elderly grandparents and immune compromised a chance to be involved… but that doesn’t mean they can’t still do a ceremony for the graduates say in July or beginning of August. What’s the harm in doing both? With all the people willing to lend a helping hand to see this happen it seems a no brainer that it can be pulled off. I call on Superior Heights, ADSB and Mayor Christian Provenzano to respond to the emails, questions and ideas that have been proposed to you!!!! They will only keep coming.

  5. Email the premier in addition to signing the petition! I did this last week and again this morning. Ford said in his press conference again today that he will not ignore public health advice, yet the Canadian Pediatric Society recommended last week (linked below) that students should be permitted to have safely distanced in-person graduations for their mental wellness. CPS may not be a public health agency, but they would not make a recommendation like this if they felt it would bend our curve in a dangerous direction. If the province announces that grads can be done in-person, ADSB high schools will be much more likely to take positive action for our grads!

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