This time final yr, residents in North Preston, East Preston and Cherry Brook stood exterior their properties to cheer the Preston Township commencement parade.

This yr, organizers say they’re honouring much more graduates than earlier than.

This yr’s occasion begins at 10 a.m. right this moment on the East Preston recreation centre.

“The final yr we had about 30 lanyards and this yr there’s 52 lanyards, and we needed to minimize it off as a result of our funds solely allowed for us to purchase 50,” stated Miranda Cain, founding father of North Preston’s Future Group Group, a community-based group which goals to problem misconceptions about Preston’s Black group.

Graduates obtain lanyards with their identify and movie on it. The group will even put up an indication on the house of every graduate to acknowledge the achievement.

Cain stated the parade is supposed to remind younger folks in Preston Township that the group is rooting for them.

“We need to give them a way of belonging, so that is a simple win, [a way] to have folks really feel like they belong to our group.”

Lanyards made by North Preston’s Future Group Group to honour some highschool grads. (Miranda Cain)

North Preston’s Future Group Group held a parade for the primary time in 2020.

Cain stated it wished to honour graduates all the way in which from main college to school who weren’t in a position to rejoice their milestones through the pandemic.

Cain stated there have been 70 automobiles that took half within the first parade, driving and honking all the way in which from East Preston to North Preston. She stated round 1,000 folks stood exterior on their steps to welcome the parade.

“We do not solely rejoice Grade 12 or college… we’re celebrating every step, so we need to be with them as they proceed to the subsequent degree,” Cain stated.

Ka’Myreha Smith, 18, just lately graduated from Cole Harbour District Excessive. She’s one of many graduates being honoured.

She stated it’s a good feeling to complete highschool and she or he is worked up to have her group rejoice the accomplishment.

“I really feel prefer it’s essential as a result of like, these days, it is arduous for Black folks to get issues executed,” stated Smith.

“It was arduous for me to graduate highschool as a result of once I was within the class, the lecturers had been actually apprehensive concerning the different folks as an alternative of worrying concerning the Black folks … so it is like an excellent factor that the group is doing this.”

The parade travels by East Preston, Cherry Brook and Lake Loon earlier than ending on the North Preston recreation centre.

Cain stated organizers are attempting so as to add one thing completely different every year the occasion takes place. 

The variety of grads being honoured has elevated within the final yr. (Miranda Cain)

“We simply added a barbecue.… We will take photos of the graduates [because] we did not have time to take photos final yr.”

Ryan Willis, who just lately graduated from Saint Mary’s College, stated he hopes this occasion will present younger folks in the neighborhood that they’ll do it, too.

“It is simply an honour in itself, particularly if you carry the group into it, it makes it extra particular,” stated Willis.

“I believe it is simply essential total, simply for lots of the youth to see themselves and the significance at school and the worth in it.”

Willis stated it is essential for folks to appreciate that many members of the Black group are first-time graduates of their households resulting from their ancestors not having instructional alternatives. He stated post-secondary schooling was by no means introduced as an choice for a lot of.

Cain stated organizers hope to make the parade an annual occasion and proceed so as to add to it.

“Perhaps we’ll have a scholarship … subsequent yr,” she stated. “[We] simply need to hold including to and constructing upon this after which possibly we will even have a commencement award ceremony for these children.”

For extra tales concerning the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success tales inside the Black group — try Being Black in Canada, a CBC venture Black Canadians might be happy with. You’ll be able to learn extra tales right here.



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