‘I just felt really special’: Winnipeg teen wears grad dress for COVID-19 vaccination

Aquinnah Llewellyn may not have had a traditional high school graduation ceremony this year, but that didn’t stop her from celebrating in her grad dress.

The 18-year-old Winnipegger, who officially graduated from Collège Béliveau this week, donned the dress she’d hoped to wear as she accepted her diploma to instead accept her second dose of COVID-19 over the weekend.

Read more: Manitoba’s efforts to boost vaccination rates appear to be working, officials say

“We didn’t have a big banquet or anything, so it was a place to show it off and get people to see it,” Llewellyn told Global News Morning this week.

“I got lots of applause and lots of ‘oh you look amazing’ … I just felt really special.”

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Click to play video: 'Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine walk-ins for youth to begin at Leila supersite Wednesday' Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine walk-ins for youth to begin at Leila supersite Wednesday

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine walk-ins for youth to begin at Leila supersite Wednesday

Llewellyn, who celebrated her 18th birthday three days before getting her second jab Saturday, said she bought the dress knowing a traditional graduation ceremony wasn’t likely, and it was her dad who suggested dressing up for the vaccination instead.

Staff at the vaccine clinic were more than impressed.

Read more: COVID-19: Pfizer deliveries confirmed for Manitoba, walk-in for youth opens in Winnipeg

Llewellyn says workers asked about her dress as she made her way through the vaccine line, and while she was waiting the 15 minutes after the shot, one of them came over and gave her handmade card.

Written in blue ink and embellished with balloons and a graduation cap, the card says “Happy Graduation” on the front and includes signatures from clinic staff on the inside.

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Staff at the vaccine clinic all signed the card. Submitted photo

“It made me all emotional,” said Llewellyn.

Llewellyn has since worn the dress for a graduation drive-by and for photos with her friends after getting her diploma Tuesday, and ironically, she says she’s likely worn it more than she would have if COVID-19 hadn’t changed the school’s grad plans.

“Even my sister said yesterday that she’s jealous of all the wear that I’m getting out of the dress, instead of one day,” she laughed.

Read more: Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine yet in Manitoba? How to book it and where to go

“I honestly think I just got more money’s worth out of the dress.”

Now that she’s fully vaccinated, Llewellyn says she’s looking forward to getting the chance to travel with her family and spend time with her grandparents.

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Llewellyn will start work on a science degree at Université de Saint-Boniface in the fall.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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