Flight Attendants Give Students An Impromptu Graduation Ceremony After Theirs Was Postponed

Students throw their mortarboards in the air during their graduation photograph
Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Four students from Briercrest College and Seminary recently took a plane ride with a WestJet crew after their graduation ceremony was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. When the flight attendants learned of this, they orchestrated an impromptu in-flight ceremony for the students.

E! News reported that the sweet gesture touched many of the plane’s passengers, who were more than happy to participate in the proceedings and applaud each student as they walked down the aisle while employees hummed the iconic “Pomp and Circumstance” song over the plane’s PA system.

A video of the “ceremony” was posted on Instagram from user shaemac10. A flight attendant could be heard announcing each student, with the ceremonial song playing in the background. E! News shared the clip on their official Instagram account and it racked up over 1.6 million views in less than ten hours.

“According to the college’s website, the four athletes—Ashley Erickson, Rebecca Garner, Kirsty Kindrachuk, and Elicia Wiebe—had been flying back to school in Canada after playing in the CCAA National Women’s Volleyball Championships in Québec City,” said the outlet.

Unfortunately for the college athletes, they found out about their graduation being postponed until fall and classes moving online for the remainder of the semester hours before their match. It was a somber moment for the students, as it meant both their athletic and academic years were abruptly over.

Their sense of disappointment was palpable on their journey back to school. The team’s chaplain, Joelle Epp, wound up telling the attendants about what had happened and they took it upon themselves to do something about it.

Garner told the school’s website that once the flight staff learned what happened, “they got so excited and started asking us to write down the degrees we would be receiving.”

“About five minutes later they started our impromptu, 39,000 feet above ground, graduation ceremony.”

Kindrachuk also chimed in, saying that the moment was “small and impromptu” but very meaningful to all the women involved.

“The four of us felt extremely blessed to experience that,” she continued.

Kindrachuk also acknowledged how important it is to keep moments like these in mind during trying times.

The Instagram clip shared by E! News generated a lot of attention. More than 1,000 people commented and over 137,700 users liked the video. In the comments section, hundreds of users were touched by the sweet sincerity demonstrated in the video and moved by the flight attendants’ actions.