- Graduating volleyball players learn about their canceled graduation ceremonies mid-flight.
- The cabin crew surprised the graduating students with a DIY ceremony inside the plane.
- The cancelation of the event was due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Four senior college athletes were on a WestJet plane from Toronto to Edmonton, Canada on Sunday, flying back from the 2020 CCAA National Championships, when they receive the news about the cancellation of their graduation ceremonies. The announcement came following recommendations to ensure safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mid-flight, the cabin crew surprised the graduating volleyball players from Briercrest College women’s team with a DIY ceremony, in place of the one that is canceled.
Red Deer College volleyball players boarded the same flight, and one of their players, Shae McIntyre videotaped the ceremony. He explains that “some of the flight attendants found out and decided to help them out and throw them graduation on the plane.”
It was Joelle Epp, Red Deer College team chaplain, who spoke to the flight attendants about the canceled graduation ceremony and the sheer amount of disappointment that came with it.
It was then that the plan was formed. They listed down the degrees the ladies were supposed to be receiving come graduation day on a meal container lid and the ceremony commenced. The containers were handed out to the graduates like diplomas, along with it is a bag of goodies filled with Kit-Kats.
“They announced their names and degree over the intercom and [the women] received an ovation from the passengers as they walked the aisle to collect their ‘official degree,’” the sophomore recalled.
The cabin crew hummed “Pomp and Circumstance” as the graduates were called by name to collect their makeshift diplomas. This was not how anybody would picture their graduation day, but it sure was a happy moment for these graduating athletes.
Academic institutions based in Canada and in the United States, both Briercrest and Red Deer College have adjusted course works for the remainder of the academic year to be workable online. The sporting season was also put on hold, indefinitely.
The graduates from the DIY ceremony were Ashley Erickson, Rebecca Garner, Kirsty Kindrachuk and Elicia Wiebe as per the Briercrest website.
Erickson described the experience, saying that the day was “a whirlwind of finishing our volleyball careers and then that night finding out that school was closing for the rest of the year and we were going to have to do online classes … No grad ceremony, no athletic banquet, everything was an abrupt ending.”
The kindness from strangers was met with much appreciation from the unwitting graduating athletes.
“The four of us felt extremely blessed to experience that, and we need to recognize these small acts of kind customer service that make people feel valued and important during times like these,” Kindrachuk said. “It was honestly the sweetest act during such a confusing and changing time in
There is quite a delay for their graduation ceremony, but they would not skip this momentous passage.