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BEC students strutting down street for drive-in grand march in New Waterford

Breton Education Centre graduates gathered at William Davis Square in New Waterford for a photo on Tuesday. They will end the week with the drive-in grand march on Sunday. From left, Matthew Ross, Kyle MacKenzie, Megumi Furukawa, Vessa MacNeil, Rennee Doucette and Madison Bresowan. NICOLE SULLIVAN/CAPE BRETON POST
Breton Education Centre graduates gathered at William Davis Square in New Waterford for a photo on Tuesday. They will end the week with the drive-in grand march on Sunday. From left, Matthew Ross, Kyle MacKenzie, Megumi Furukawa, Vessa MacNeil, Rennee Doucette and Madison Bresowan. NICOLE SULLIVAN/CAPE BRETON POST
NEW WATERFORD, N.S. —

Breton Education Centre's 51 graduates will be strutting their stuff down Plummer Avenue on Sunday for their drive-in grand march.

Like other high schools in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education, the drive-in grand march is replacing the students’ traditional prom which was cancelled due to COVID-19 health protection orders.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer, announced on June 5 these types of outdoor graduation celebrations would be allowed until June 30. Since then, organizers have been scrambling to find suitable locations, write proposals for police and secure decor for their events.

Monica Ross, one of the parents organizing the drive-in grand march for BEC, said they have a “great group” of people who worked hard on this event in the short time frame they had.

“This all hit and we felt so bad for the grads. Devastated,” she said. “It’s prom. It’s such a landmark in their life. And the last time they saw each other, I don’t think they realized it would be the last time because this all hit so quickly."

A drone will be taking aerial photos of the graduates as they make their two loops along the road and Ross said they’re asking people attending to decorate their cars.

They also used some of the money raised for the BEC safe grad, which also had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, to purchase $50 gift cards from Flavor restaurants for the students.

“That was going to cost us $3,500 but the owner of Flavor donated … $750 (worth) of the gift cards,” Ross said.

“That was really nice of him, especially when he’s probably not making as much money as he usually would because of all of this.”

Each BEC grad is allowed two cars at Sunday's event: one in which they’ll travel with their family and one for other guests. Like the other drive-in grand marches happening in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, people must stay in their cars for the duration of the ceremony. The one exception is for the parent dance.

“I’m excited about (the grand march) because we’ve been looking forward to graduation and prom since we started school,” said graduate Madison Bresowar.

“I’m excited that we have something to do to celebrate together before we never see each other again,” said fellow grad Vessa MacNeil who is BEC’s 2020 salutatorian for her community work and volunteerism.

Traffic will be blocked on Plummer Avenue from Mahon Street to Hudson Street from 3 p.m. until after the conclusion of the grand march.

Cars will be parked on an angle along Plummer Avenue, similar to the way antique cars are parked during the annual shows that take place in New Waterford.

Ross said teachers, administration and other staff have asked for the route to end at a place where they can watch from afar and wave their goodbyes from more than the provincially required social distance.

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