• Race to a Cure Authors

Dear Diary, eCongratulations to the Second Pandemic Graduates

The class of 2021 shuts their laptops and throws their caps as they finish their last day of school online and hope it never has to happen again.

“I think every single person that is graduating this year deserves a spotlight, even if it's not in the way that we hoped...We should just always be reminded of what we have achieved, even though things have been hard throughout it, even though we had to persevere through so much. We overcame everything and we still managed to come out on top.”

  • Sasha Houle, 2021 graduate from Technical Vocational High School in Winnipeg, CBC Manitoba

The graduating class of 2020 will be forever immortalized as the pandemic graduates. But what about the class of 2021? The half-vaccinated graduates? The adulthood-bound students whose last “normal” day of high school was halfway through eleventh grade?

A coast-to-coast recap of where all provinces and territories stand on school closures:

British Columbia: Elementary school and secondary schools are running in person.

Alberta: Elementary school and secondary schools are running in person.

Saskatchewan: Elementary school and secondary schools are running in person.

Manitoba: Elementary and secondary schools in Winnipeg and Brandon, as well as the Garden Valley and Red River Valley school divisions, will remain in remote learning. Other schools will remain in-person/hybrid.

Ontario: Elementary and secondary schools are fully remote

Quebec: Elementary school running in person, secondary schools in-person/hybrid. Some schools in southern Quebec were online due to the heatwave in early June.

New Brunswick: Elementary school and secondary schools are running in person.

Nova Scotia: Elementary school and secondary schools are running in person.

Prince Edward Island: Elementary school and secondary schools are running in person.

Newfoundland and Labrador: Elementary school and secondary schools are running in person.

Yukon: Elementary school and secondary schools are running in person.

Northwest Territories: Elementary schools and secondary schools are running in person.

Nunavut: Elementary school and secondary schools are running in person.

Finishing a school year is often a rewarding and memorable experience, but many of us are closing our textbooks hoping this is the last year spent like this. From the administrative staff to student support workers, to the amazing teachers who have supported all Canadian students this year to the students themselves, each and every person has done something extraordinary. The history books students are reading now will soon have our stories. The COVID-19 global pandemic will be remembered for generations and we hope the lessons we learned from the pandemic (about public safety and algebra) will stay with us forever!

Looking ahead to the next school year, there is hope. As of June 12, the Canadian Government reports that 30,349 Canadian youth from 12-18 have received one dose of the Pfizer- BioN Tech COVID-19 vaccine. The day we will all get to learn in person together is coming sooner than we think. Until then, remember that your amazing accomplishments of learning during the pandemic have armed you with the knowledge to handle whatever the future throws at you.

Congratulations to Marie and the rest of the not fictional class of 2021 for graduating high school! We are proud of all of you! A shout out goes out to all graduating seniors and a special mention to the amazing graduates at Race To A Cure:

Alizeh Qaiser, Aneri Buch, Ashley Chen, Asima Hudani, Christine, Sun, Emily Rose, Eric Wei, Hannah Mae Meagher, Idil Gure, Jacob Farrell, Janki Kalaria, Jennifer Law, Jennifer Ying, Katrina Artes, Linda Duong, Megan Ong, Michelle Lam, Michelle Xiao, Mina Chong, Olivia Ye, Palak Agarwal, Rahma Osman, Rajan Minocha-McKenney, Rhienna Patel, Ridah Afshal, Risheena Banerji, Rohan Jadhav, Sarah Yang, Stephanie Sahadeo, Soomin Han, Thomas Cwintal, Valerie Shirobokov, Victoria Huang, Yuna K.

Let’s see what Cara, Max, Marie and Advik are planning for their summer breaks. This may be the last time we hear from them. They’ve grown so much alongside the real students they represent. The 2020-2021 school year was one to remember. Read on to find out what our Dear Diary correspondents have reflected on throughout the year and what their aspirations are for the months and years to come!

The following diary entries are works of fiction. Names, characters, business, events and incidents are the products of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Dear Diary,

Today is Tuesday, June 22 and THERE IS ONLY ONE MORE WEEK OF SCHOOL! YAY! I am so excited! Mom and me eat fancy icecream if I get good grades. But this year, Mom said we will eat icecream even if I get bad grades! I love icecream! My favourite is cookies and cream. Reva’s favourite is strawberrie. Summer is so fun! I play in the park and ride my bicycle! Mom said Reva, Lucy, Leo and I can play together because covid is less bad. I’M SO EXCITED!!!

For the last day at school, Ms. Kennedi said we can make a poster of what we want to be when we grow up. I want to do monkey bars and be a gimnastics. And I want to fly. And I want to eat carrots. And I want to write. Mom looked at my diary and said I was good at writing. Ms. Kennedi said my spelling is good! I want to write storys about aliens and fairys and my friends. But first, I want summer and icecream! I only have one line left! Bye Diary!

  • Cara Weir, Grade 3

Dear Diary,

Three days left! I can’t believe I’m almost done seventh grade. It feels like just yesterday when Baba and I moved to Victoria. So much has happened so fast…

I hope next year is better. I hope summer lasts forever. Dang it that rhymed. We are finishing our poetry unit in english class. My favourite is the haiku because it is the shortest. I don’t really like poetry. Baba’s birthday is in July. July 5, the day after Canada day. We are going back to Ucletet for a few weeks to relax. I miss all the trees. But thinking of Ucluelet is sad now that Uncle’s dad died. But I miss my cousins. But if we are away too long I’ll miss my friends, the dogs, and Josh. I’m making pretty good money with dog walking, but I think Goldie might be a bit jealous. She almost bit the neighbour’s dalmation’s ear off. I never thought I would miss this place, but now it's like home.

My marks come out on Friday and I’m kind of nervous. Yesterday Baba sat me down all serious and asked what I wanted to do as a career. I don’t really know, I said I liked science and drawing is pretty cool. Then Baba was all “It is not about what you like, it is about what you are doing to spend the rest of your life doing to make money.” But then I said not everything is about money and he got a bit mad. I don’t know what I want to do, I’m a kid. I just don’t want Baba to worry about me. Basically every kids’ parents want them to be a doctor, but Baba has never said anything like that. Being a doctor would be cool though, or a dog doctor. A veterinarian!

This summer Josh and I planned to meet up with the other guys in our class during August so we don’t get too bored. They said they are going to show me all the sights in Victoria I haven’t seen so far. I’m looking forward to it. Goldie is barking so loud it sounds like she is looking forward to something too. I have to take her for a walk.

  • Max Zhou, Grade 7

Dear Diary,

Oh my god I AM OFFICIALLY DONE HIGH SCHOOL! And I had a prom! With masks, but still! It was so amazing! I went last minute dress shopping with Gen because we didn’t even know if we’d have an in person graduation. I got a cute purple gown and Gen’s was bottle green. Exams were a whirlwind of stress and coffee and then we had our graduation party! Just thinking about it makes me squeal. There was a large tent pitched in the school’s soccer field and we all sat far apart. The ceremony was split so we could maintain social distancing. I was with the A-M last names with Sam. The staff made a video of photos from our last four years. Some were pictures that we sent in during the pandemic. There was one of me and Elijah with our tongues stuck to the cheeks of a frozen snowman we made. Mama got up and took a picture of the screen and I was only a little bit embarrassed. Then they gave out awards, Sam got the jazz excellence award and I got the multidisciplinary award for my musical and academic abilities. Papa had to physically stop Mama from taking twelve billion pictures!

Then I went out for lunch at a patio with my family. Daniel spilled water all over our table but overall it was great. The food was delicious and Mama and Papa were so proud. In the afternoon they dropped me back off at school where we had our dance! It was magical! The ceiling was draped with stars and lights (the theme was Starry Night so I think it was appropriate) and we talked and ate amazing tiny deserts and danced. I felt so nostalgic for the memory even though I was living it. Later Leena pulled me aside and said she had something serious to say. She was the secret admirer! I couldn’t believe it! She said it was a dare from Sam but she had liked me last year. We hugged and danced and had a good time. Leena and I are going to walk in the park on Thursday, then we’ll see what happens (I am currently winking).

It was an unreal end to an unreal year. In September I start university and I’ll probably move into dorms! So much change and so much love…

  • Marie Musa, Grade 12

Dear Diary,

Every year I finish exams and pray I never have to go through that stress again, yet every year I end up doing it again anyways. School has been rough this year. Exam season was all online and ended yesterday afternoon, I’m still dazed. Maya called me earlier today and we both sat silently for a good ten minutes, relishing one year finished. I feel like I’m losing something, my youth, my dreams, my sanity?

Amma’s friend in India’s mom got COVID, they are worried she is not going to make it. I guess compared to others I haven’t lost much, but I’m still hoping something will change. Political science is about making a change in the world, how can I do that if I can’t change my attitudes?

Vithun bhai called and said to apply to internship programs, I sent my resume to seven companies, a few in Ottawa. Papa said I can stay with one of his friends who lives there for a few weeks if I get accepted. How cool would it be? To walk the street to Parliament and see the actual House of Commons! Although, they are renovating the buildings now and due to COVID I’d probably be working from home… I really want to get this internship and I’ve been refreshing my empty inbox ever since. I want to travel and I want to apply my learning and I want to change something.

Oh, I got an email!

  • Advik Shah, second-year undergrad

Past Dear Diary Issues

A Message from the Students of 2020


Stories of a Long and Lonely Winter


Memoir of a Blue Monday


Love Letter from 2m Away


Postcards from a Not So Far Away Spring


News from the Third Wave


The Subconscious of a Restless Youth


Article Author: Ria Patel

Article Editors: Stephanie Sahadeo, Valerie Shirobokov