Teacher Builds Portable Graduation Stage And Drives To His Students’ Houses To Hand Out Diplomas

Many things changed when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Businesses changed their hours and started offering contactless options, travel was virtually non-existent, and many schools went completely virtual.

The Central Algoma Secondary School in Ontario, Canada, was one such school that’s been working online for the past year, and their instruction and learning isn’t the only thing that’s virtual.

Like many schools, CASS is figuring out how to host school events in a virtual manner, including celebrations and graduations.

Photo: flickr/Phil Roeder

One creative teacher, Ray Gowlett, didn’t want his students to miss out on the full high school graduation experience. After all, they’d missed out on so much already, like prom, and they wouldn’t be getting a chance at high school again.

Because they were in Canada, graduation had to be socially distanced and couldn’t be a public event, but Gowlett was determined to make it special. That’s when he came up with a brilliant idea to create a portable stage.

Photo: TikTok/leashorlando

Using a truck trailer, he built a portable stage so the graduates could still walk up and receive their diplomas as if things were “normal.” Without his dedication to make the portable stage, the students would’ve missed out on the big milestone.

It took him six hours, but Gowlett successfully created a make-shift stage and spent 12 hours driving to the homes of all 72 graduates.

Photo: TikTok/leashorlando

According to Insider, Gowlett’s daughter, Sadie, was part of the graduating class and asked if she could receive her diploma on an outdoor public stage. He asked if she thought the other students would want to do that, and Sadie thought they all would.

Of course, not everyone could gather at an outdoor stage because that would still be breaking the law for public outdoor gatherings (which limit attendance to 10 people). So, Gowlett decided to bring a stage to every student – and he did just that!

Photo: TikTok/leashorlando

TikTok user @Leashorlando shared a video of a student walking onto the stage to receive her diploma and the video quickly gained popularity. People just couldn’t believe the dedication of this teacher!

Watch one student receive her diploma on the stage in the video below:


How was your grad? #graduation #pandemicgraduate #teacher #teachertikok #northernontario #highschoolmemories #casshuskies #congratulations

♬ Spongebob – Dante9k

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