WestJet Surprised College Students Flying Home With a Mid-flight Graduation Ceremony, Complete With Diplomas and Candy
A sweet surprise in the sky.
As more and more schools close their doors and switch to online classes due to the COVID-19 virus, it's leaving college seniors with a shortened final semester, and most likely no official graduation ceremony. Briercrest College in Saskatchewan, Canada, is no different.
On Briercrest's women's volleyball team, there are four seniors. They found out that classes and graduation had been canceled right before they journeyed back to school after competing at the CCAA Women's Volleyball National Championships in Quebec City, according to Nancy Garner, the mother of one of the seniors, Rebecca Garner. Of course, the flight home would be a somber one.
However, once the flight attendants on their flight home got wind of the canceled graduation, a plan was put into action by one of Briercrest's chaplains, Joelle Epp. The WestJet flight attendants would hold a small "graduation ceremony" on the plane right before they landed.
"I was so shocked! I didn't think [it] would actually happen. Everyone on the plane was clapping and loving it, it seemed like," Rebecca Garner told Insider.
You can watch the ceremony below, complete with "Pomp and Circumstance," diplomas, a processional, and Kit Kats.
Nancy Garner shared the video after her daughter let her know that she had "graduated" on the plane. "So, my daughter, basically all she did was [say], 'Hey Mom, I graduated, I don't have to finish my school. I got a certificate,'" she told Insider.
"I was just happy because everybody was panicking over the coronavirus, and this is just finally something nice that somebody did," she continued.
Congratulations to Ashley Erickson, Kirsty Kindrachuk, Rebecca Garner, and Elicia Weibe, who posed for photos with their handmade diplomas after the ceremony.
Like other airlines, WestJet, a Canadian airline, has been hit by the fallout from the coronavirus, as countries seek to restrict travel. As of March 22, it will be suspending all international travel, it said in a statement. The airline also recently said there will be "major reductions in staffing levels" due to their cancellation of flights.