After five busy days of nonstop frantic prep work, planning, organizing, contacting numerous amounts of people, checking and double checking to make sure everything was all set, in order and ready to go, the big day had finally arrived.

The day of Degrassi Junior High School's long awaited Commencement that seriously would have never even seen the light of day hadn't it been for the likes of Daniel Raditch and Phil Earnshaw, whom stood in the lobby of Degrassi High along with Doris Bell, Bruce Lawrence, Josh Thomas, Gregory Jackson, Lou Robbins, Scott Nolan and Tammy Hardison, eagerly awaiting the arrival of their respectable graduation classes.

While many of Degrassi High's graduates were arriving on time, Degrassi Junior's had yet to be seen which slowly began to worry and concern Daniel.

"Where are they? If they don't arrive soon, I don't know what we'll do!" he fretted, trying not to pace the floor in a panic. "I did contact the parents a few days ago informing them of this date and to be here at Degrassi by...oh shoot! I mentioned Degrassi, but I didn't quite specify which Degrassi to meet at. For all we know, they could all be gathering at Degrassi Junior High School instead!"

"Want me to call up Louella and see if that's really the case?" offered Josh.

"Could you, please? We're slowly running out of time! The event is scheduled to start at one, reasons why I've asked everyone to arrive here by twelve! It's five minutes past now!"

Josh nodded as he then went into the main office to call up Louella.

The phone rang a few times before Louella finally picked up.

"Hello, Hawkins' residents."

"Hey Hawkster, it's Josh Thomas calling..."

"Hey Josh, if you're looking for Mary, she's upstairs using the ladies room. I'm sure she'll be down in a minute."

"Actually no, it's not Mary I'm looking for, it's...um...it's Degrassi Junior High School's graduates. Have you seen them?"

"Did I seriously just hear 'Degrassi Junior High School's graduates'?"

"Yeah!?"

"Wait a minute Josh, I thought there wasn't going to be a commencement?! I do recall Sue telling me earlier in the month that the School Board was going to mail out the diplomas instead."

"That was the plan at first...but after a lot of hard work and dedication, Daniel Raditch managed to pull some strings and brought Degrassi Junior High's Graduation back to life again!"

"Alright, hold on..." Louella said as she then opened up her front door and looked out."Gosh, what an eyesore...Josh, I hate to say this but...um, I see them. They're all here in front of the school. However, I don't see their parents anywhere nearby."

"Their parents aren't there with them?!"

"Nope...just the kids! It looks as though they're about ready to hold some kind of ceremony. I don't know where you guys are right now, but you better head on over here and quick, ASAP...if we're going to have a ceremony to say our final farewells, it's only right that we do it together officially...you know, as a family! After all, isn't that what Degrassi is really all about?"

"I guess so. Alright, Hawkins. We'll be right over as soon as we can...see ya shortly. Bye-bye." Josh finished as he hung up the phone and then tried to find the right words to say to Daniel, Bruce, Doris and the crew.

"Well, where are they? Has Louella seen them?" asked Tammy.

"Yeah, it's just as we suspected...they're over at Degrassi Junior High School, without their parents...paying their final respects!"

"Without their parents? Well, where the heck are they, then?" asked Doris.

"I don't know..."

"Maybe they're already at MacMillan Theatre." suggested Gregory.

"Oh, I deeply feared it would come to this!" muttered Bruce Lawrence as Sergeant Steals and Fire Marshal William Talbot came in to the school, wondering what was taking everyone so long to arrive.

"I hate to say this William and Steals, but it seems everyone has gathered at Degrassi Junior High School instead...paying their last and final respects!" Daniel lamented.

"Ah, I kind of figured as much." sighed William. "Sometimes you just can't move forward until you say goodbye to the past."

"Hey guys, I know this is going to be very difficult for you all...but think of it this way. Think of Degrassi Junior High School as a book, a book that you've all been working hard on for years. Together, you've all written chapters full of happiness, sadness, uncertainty and of excitement and adventure. Eventually you, as well as everyone else knows that someday, the story has to come to an end, rather you like to admit to it or not. With every ending, there's always a new beginning. As you close this book, you open up a new one and start again. Just think of all the awesome, maybe even amazing adventures that are still left to come, but you just don't know it yet until you finish what you've started!" stated Phil. "Anyway, I've got to go and get ready for our commencement ceremony. Once you're done saying farewell to DJH once and for all, have a blast at yours! You deserve every waking moment of it!"

"Thanks, Phil. We most certainly will!" said Scott as Phil began to make his way towards the auditorium.

"I really don't want to do this..." Bruce sighed, knowing full well it had to be done, no matter what.

"But Phil's got a point, Bruce. Even through many of us are not ready to end this book, eventually it has to be done someday...and for us, that someday is now. With every ending, there's always a new beginning. We all know exciting opportunities lie ahead, not just for all of us, but for our soon to be former students as well. Just think, come next week, Daniel Raditch will be full time vice principal of Degrassi High School. Josh, you and your crew will once again do your best and give it your all to keep this place neat and tidy like you've done several times at Degrassi Junior, hopefully with Louella Hawkins back by your side. And as for me, I start pursuing a new career as an actress cause I got acceptance into the Toronto Academy of Acting for Film and Television!" announced Doris as she then pulled out a letter from her purse and showed it off to everyone.

"That's awesome news, Doris!" said Josh.

"Congratulations, honey!" beamed Tammy as she rushed over to give Doris a hug.

"We wish you the very best of luck, Ms. Bell!" added in Sergeant Steals. "Hope to see you on TV or maybe even the big screen someday!"

"Thank you all for the well wishes and comments, guys! Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, even through we've all already had our moment to reflect and maybe even said our goodbyes a few weeks ago, it's really not truly official until we have everyone involved like we do now! Bruce, we can do this, alright?!"

Doris held and squeezed Bruce's hand which he returned.

"Alright...let's do this." Bruce replied back with a brave smile.

"That's the spirit! Now, come on guys...let's head on over to Degrassi Junior High before it's too late!" stated Josh as he then began for the main doors. "William, Sergeant Steals, will you two do us the honor of leading the way?"

"Of course, that's what we're here for!" said Sergeant Steals as he headed towards his cruiser while William hopped into his small, red pickup!

Bruce, Doris and the custodians all hopped aboard the school bus along with Daniel Raditch who was driving since he was the one who rented it out for the day.

"Hey, I certainly hope you know how to operate this thing, Raditch!" joked Lou.

"Lucky for you, I most certainly do, Mr. Robbins!" said Daniel Raditch with a scoff as he placed the keys into the ignition and started the bus up. "Here's a little fact that I'm sure many of you didn't know. Before I became a Junior High School English Teacher, I got my start as a school bus driver. I drove the school bus for three whole years before getting my teaching degree. You could say the kids I drove to and from school inspired me to become a teacher cause they all kept telling me how much they wished I was their teacher! Now...hold on tight to your seats folks, cause here we go!"

"Tell me when you're ready to go, Daniel!" Steals called out which Daniel gave an immediate thumbs up, shifting the gear to drive and soon they were on their way towards Degrassi Junior High one last time.


When they began making their way down Degrassi Street, Sergeant Steals and Fire Marshal William turned the lights and sirens on as a show of respect, gaining the attention of all the gathering students who quickly turned to see what all the commotion was about.

Many nearby residents also rushed out of their homes to see just what was going on, including Louella, Sue and Mary.

"If they're drawing attention to whatever is about to happen here, it most certainly worked!" stated Sue as William and Steals pulled up to the front of Degrassi Junior High School, turning the sirens off but kept their lights flashing.

"Sorry if we had alarmed anyone in any way, shape or form..." addressed William as he stepped out of his truck. "We just wanted to pay our respects! In the Emergency department, sometimes we use our sirens and lights as a salute or tribute. I know it sounds a little crazy doing a tribute to a fallen building, but this place meant a lot to so many people, especially those who had attended this school. It was like a second home, even through it probably didn't feel like it at times. This community lost a major piece of history and today, we all gather here together to say our final farewells and to hopefully find permanent closure. If you'd like to partake, then please stick around...if not, then go about your day."

Many residents decided to stick around and pay their respects as William and Steals began to approach the front yard of Degrassi.

"Careful where your stepping...there's still some debris lying around." warned Doris as she carefully made her way off the bus.

"Hey Doris, Bruce!" greeted Louella as she walked over and gave both of them a hug.

"Hi, Louella. It's so good to see you again!" Bruce muttered as he returned the embrace.

"Likewise. How are you holding up?"

"I'm doing well...how about you?"

"Ah, so-so I guess. Starting to feel a little down and out over the events that had happened...certainly doesn't help that I get to stare at this eyesore every single day as a harsh, vivid reminder. Also still trying to get used to this new lifestyle of having to drag this oxygen tank around with me everywhere I go, too. It's a bit of a nuisance at times, especially when I'm trying to cook something or going to bed."

Bruce simply nodded as Josh came up from behind Louella, wrapping his arm around her shoulders.

"Hey Hawkster! Thanks for letting us know everyone was here!"

"No problem...so, since there's a commencement happening, are we still on for that um...theatre trip?"

"Oh yeah, for sure Louella, as soon as we're done paying our last and final respects here."

Louella nodded as they then slowly began to approach the front of the burnt down school. "The theatre is where the commencement is going to be held, right?"

"That's right."

"Well, that explains why everyone is all dressed up."

"Pretty much! By the way, you look gorgeous Louella."

"Thank you, Josh. Needless to say, when Mary showed up at my house and asked me to get all dolled up, I was a little confused at first...but now I can see why. How did all of this come to be anyway? Like I said on the phone, I thought the School Board was mailing out the diplomas instead."

"Well, like I said on the phone, Daniel pulled a few strings and managed to get Degrassi's commencement off the ground!"

"Daniel Raditch did all this? But how? He's only a teacher..."

"Not anymore I'm not, Ms. Hawkins." Daniel began as he approached Louella and whispered in her ear, "I'm now the Vice Principal of Degrassi High School. Don't want to give it away just yet...so shh!"

"Ah, gotcha!"

"I'll just say this though, it took a lot of hard work, dedication and perseverance to get this event off the ground! So kids, are you all ready to become Degrassi Junior High School's Class of 89'?"

Those who were graduating cheered while the soon to be Tenth Graders stood back and smiled, probably reminiscing their own graduation that took place last year.

"It's truly amazing how quick things can change." said Christine Nelson as she held on to baby Emma. "Now, all we have left of this place are the memories."

"Exactly, Christine. Memories that I hope many of you guys continue to hold on to for the rest of your lives and never let go, no matter what!" announced Bruce as he choked back a sob.

"Hey...what's that over there?" announced Nancy Kramer suddenly as she then carefully jumped into the pile of debris and began shifting through the bricks, concrete, wood, metal and steal beams, rods and glass shards.

"Nancy, what are you doing? Get out of there...it's much too dangerous for you to be in there!" hollered Gregory.

"What is she after in there anyway?" asked Tammy.

"It looks like a shirt or something...kinda hard to tell from this angle." said Scott.

"No...it looks way too big and bulky to be a shirt, Scott. It looks more like a..." began Lou.

"No way...no, it can't be!? It seriously can't be?! It's the banner that hung in the very stairwell that was fully engulfed in flames! How on earth did it survive?" wondered Louella as Nancy carefully made her way back out from the rubble holding the large, light blue banner.

She unraveled it to reveal the following message, 'Purple N' Blue, We'll Always Be True!'

"I cannot believe this! That banner miraculously survived the fire?!" stated Joey in shock.

"You guys know what this means, don't you?" began Josh as he looked around at all of the staff and student body, hoping someone would get the gist of what he was trying to say.

"I think I know..." Louella stated with a smile.

"Me too!" added in Mary.

"Same here!" said Doris as tears began to welled up in her eyes.

The kids however were completely clueless as they all looked at one another, shaking their heads as Josh continued to finish his sentence.

"It means that even through the building is long gone, Degrassi's School Spirit forever lives on. Nancy, why don't you and Louella do us the honors of laying that banner down on the front steps while we all take in a moment of silence."

Louella then walked over to Nancy, who handed the other end of the banner to her and slowly began making their way over to the concrete steps, placing the banner down as everyone then bowed their heads in silence.

After a minute had past, everyone began to sing the School's anthem together:

'Purple and Blue, you know we'll be true,

Bringing victory and honor to your name, in the work that we do and the games that we play.

We will always make you proud, and bring you fame

Cause we'll fight, fight, fight with integrity and might.

We'll never ever let you down, Degrassi Junior High.

We hail thee, we wear your colors with great pride.

We strive for excellence in what we do at Degrassi Junior High.'

Once the ceremony was over and many of the nearby residents went back to what they were originally doing earlier, the students and staff all had some photos taken as a memento courtesy of Sergeant Steals who brought his camera along for the occasion and then headed off to MacMillan Theatre to get the commencement ceremony underway.


The traditional tune of Pomp and Circumstance Op. 39, March Number 1 blared from the speakers of MacMillan Theatre as Degrassi Junior High School's class of 89' proudly marched in, wearing royal blue colored robes and matching caps with a purple colored tassel dangling off the right side, topped with a golden 89' charm near the top as they slowly made their way towards their seating arrangements centered in the middle of the room while parents, staff and close acquaintances looked on with pride and emotion.

Once everyone had been seated and the music faded to off, Mr. Bruce Lawrence then took to the stage, wearing a black robe with a purple and blue academic hood around his shoulders and began to address the crowd.

"Good Afternoon and welcome to Degrassi Junior High School's final commencement to honor and celebrate it's last class of 1989!"

The crowd all cheered and applauded while the graduates whistled and hollered their approval.

"I knew that was going to get a reaction out of you all! Before I go on, I'd like to take this moment to thank the very people who have made this day physically possible. Mr. Daniel Raditch who is here with us..."

Daniel Raditch briefly stood up from his seat to give the crowd a wave and a bow before sitting back down again.

"And Mr. Phil Earnshaw who unfortunately could not be here for he is in the process of hosting his own commencement at the moment. We thank you both for your hard work, determination and dedication. Today is a day full of mixed emotion, not only for myself but for many of our fellow colleagues here in attendance as well because just a few weeks ago, we never thought we would even see this day unfold before our very eyes in the first place. As many of you all know by now, our beloved Degrassi Junior High School had been struck by tragedy on the night of June 23rd of this year, the night of our annual Graduation Dance. What should have been a night full of fun and laughter quickly turned into a night full of fear, terror and uncertainty for our future as Degrassi abruptly went up into flames. The blaze got so out of control, an evacuation had to be called upon. Nobody wanted to leave, but there was no other choice. After a very intense and stubborn battle that took a few days, the fire was finally brought under control and thoroughly extinguished. During that time, our remaining custodians were then asked to come and determine rather or not Degrassi was salvageable or completely demolished beyond repair. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done and Degrassi was declared gone. Not only were many of our students now without a school to call their own, but many of our staff were also officially out of a job as well. Come mid-July, many of our surrounding neighbors were finally allowed to return to the area only to find nothing but destruction in its wake. While some found minor damage that could easily be repaired and fixed up good as new, others like us, no longer had a home or even a business to call their own. Just when all hope was lost, the community then came together, picking up the pieces and began to rebuild not only what had been lost or destroyed but also our strengths and our confidence within ourselves and each other along the way. They say with tragedy comes triumph, but it is not triumph that defines us, it's the tragedy. Triumph only brings out the best in us, but tragedy shows us what we're really made of. Tough times never last, but tough people do and many of us here today, including our students are indeed the toughest bunch Degrassi has ever had in it's entire history and we know...I know that from here on out, whatever challenges many of these kids and staff face, rather it be here and now or in their future endeavors down the road, they will always come out stronger and wiser than ever before for they are and forever will be the Phoenix that rises from the ashes!"

Mr. Lawrence then paused for an applause as he took a sip of water that he had placed behind the podium before continuing on.

"Thank you. After things had finally returned back to what little normal was left, we all began to wonder about commencement and where our students would go from here. After a meeting with our school board, it was decided that our students would receive their diplomas in the mail and that come next year, our tenth graders would attend Degrassi High School full time while our ninth and eighth graders would continue their education at home. This did not settle too well with Mr. Daniel Raditch, who at the time was taking some extra courses just in case he found himself unemployed come fall. Upon making some calls, he managed to get somethings worked out and this is why we are all here today. With that being said...I have a few announcements to make before we hand out our diplomas. First and foremost, for our eighth and ninth grade students, as of Tuesday, September the 5th, all of you will be attending Degrassi High School along with our fellow tenth graders for Grade Nine!"

Among all the cheers and murmurs from mostly the former eighth now going into ninth graders, Tessa Campanelli raised her hand, hoping to gain Bruce's attention.

"Yes, Tessa?"

"But what about Dorothy, Bartholomew and myself? We're suppose to be going into Grade 8, aren't we?"

"Yes, technically you guys should be heading off into Grade 8, but because of this predicament we're in with the permanent loss of Degrassi Junior, as well as many other schools within our district still struggling and coping with last year's shifting population patterns, we unfortunately could not find a school willing to take you in for just one year. It's left us no other choice than to include you in with the rest of our Class of 89. I know this sounds quite intimidating, but as I had stated earlier, you're all very strong students and we know that you can do it! I hope this has cleared the air somewhat, Ms. Campanelli. Any more questions before we continue onward? Alright then, the next announcement I would like to make...and this one will be very difficult so please, bare with me here. If you're all wondering if I have a place at Degrassi High, I unfortunately do not. As of July 25th, I, Mr. Bruce Lawrence along with Doris Bell have officially declared retirement. I know...I know this news comes as a shock to you all but um...it's for the best, I think. I just want to say that these past four years here at Degrassi Junior High School have been the best I've ever had throughout my entire 13 year career. Many students have kept me very busy and on my toes at all times, especially you, Mr. Jeremiah. There was never a dull moment as each and every day always brought on something new. I want to thank you all for the memories and the moments that have shaped and inspired me as I hope they have also shaped and inspired you. As you all...continue to move on down that road we call life, I hope you find time for yourselves to reminisce all the great, the good, the bad and yes, even the downright ugly memories and moments as well as the very people who have helped inspire and shape you all to be the people you hopefully long to be. Now, without further ado, it's the moment you've all been waiting for. Upon the recommendation of the faculty, and by the authority of the Board of Trustees of the Toronto District School Board, I confer upon each of you the Grade 8 Diploma with the rights, privileges and responsibilities thereto appertain. We start with Bartholomew Bond, please come up on stage to receive your diploma."

Bartholomew stood up and began to make his way up on stage as Mr. Lawrence handed him his diploma while Mr. Raditch turned the tassel on his cap from right to left before directing him to the chairs situated behind them.

"Melanie Brodie."

Melanie followed suit as she stood up and made her way onto the stage to receive her diploma.

"Tessa Campanelli. Dorothy. Diana Economopoulos. Maya Goldberg. Joey Jeremiah."

Many hoots and hollers could be heard throughout the crowd followed by a "Way to go, Goofball!" from Louella Hawkins as Joey made his way on stage.

"Arthur Kobalewscuy. Wai Lee. Luke Matthews. Kathleen Mead. Trudi Owens. Caitlin Ryan. Trish Skye. Scott Webster. Alex Yankou. And last but not least, Yick Yu. It is with great honor to present our Graduation Class of 1989!"

Once again, Bruce took a moment for a breather and another sip of water while the crowd applauded before continuing. "Usually at this time, we would call upon our Class Valedictorian to come up and say a few words, but since this ceremony came about on the fly, we really had no time to declare a Valedictorian, so instead, I call upon Mr. Josh Thomas to the stage cause he has a few words he'd like to share with us. Mr. Thomas?" Mr. Lawrence addressed as Josh then came up on stage and stood before the podium.

"Thank you Mr. Lawrence for this moment and opportunity. With Graduation comes a new start. A new start that brings on so many new opportunities, hopes and dreams that we can only hope with time and perseverance will come true. For many of these students who now sit behind me here on this very stage, they begin that new start this coming September at our new home, Degrassi High School. It's kind of weird not being able to drop the Junior in there...however, I assure you that Degrassi High has the same spirit and attitude as Degrassi Junior High School did and then some! How do we know? Well, as of this past Monday, August the 28th, we began our new start working there doing what we do best, and that's keeping Degrassi High School neat, clean and tidy as the hardworking, respectable and dedicated janitors and custodians we are! And after getting ourselves acquainted and used to our new surroundings, it was almost like Degrassi Junior High School...almost. I do hope that gives you kids some form of reassurance. However, despite us starting this fresh new chapter on a fresh new page of a fresh new book that has yet to be touched by hands, pencils or even pens for that matter, we can't help but feel something...or should I really say, someone...is missing. After these past few days, we still don't feel whole. Louella Hawkins, Sue Jenkins, can you guys join me on stage, please?"

Louella and Sue looked at one another with bewilderment before standing up from their seats and began making their way towards the stage.

"I'm loving this...I am so loving this, you guys both look very puzzled right now. That's exactly the kind of reaction we've been hoping for!" Josh laughed. "You'll find out soon enough once you get up here!"

"What's this all about, Josh?!" asked Louella as she and Sue approached the stairs and began climbing them, making sure the oxygen tube was completely out of the way while Sue carried her tank.

"I've got your tank, hon. You're good." replied Sue reassuringly as they finally stood before Josh and the Graduates.

"Alright, you guys ready?"

"Yes, Josh...come on, tell us! The suspense is killing us...I don't think I can handle this kind of pressure!" declared Louella anxiously.

"OK, OK, OK...before I do through...Louella, Sue, tell me what was the one thing you guys wanted more than anything else in this world? The one thing you were really working hard to achieve someday?"

Sue was the first to react as her eyes grew wide in amazement.

"Louella...Oh my gosh..."

"Josh...no way! No way...you can't be...you're serious, right...this is...this is a joke, right? You're now pulling our legs here!"

Josh smirked and shook his head as he then pulled out from underneath the podium a satin covered cloth and carefully pushed the fabric back revealing not one but two nameplates, both already personalized with Louella's and Sue's names on it!

"Joshua, oh...my...gosh...tell me...is that..." Louella couldn't even finish her sentence as she covered her mouth in absolute shock.

"Louella Hawkins. Sue Jenkins. Will you two do us the honor of being our Custodial Supervisors? We're really not the same without you guys there to keep us all in line! Please, say yes?!"

"Josh, it'll be an absolute honor! Thank you so much!" Louella squealed as she embraced Josh to a standing ovation.

Sue also joined in the embrace.

"We're employed again!"

"You sure are, Sue! Welcome back."

After a few more minutes, Josh, Louella and Sue finally broke up the embrace and began to make their way off stage, giving the role back to Bruce Lawrence.

"Congratulations Louella Hawkins and Sue Jenkins on your new employment! I'm sure you'll do a fantastic job keeping Josh and the gang in line as you have done countless amounts of times at Degrassi Junior High! Both Doris Bell and I wish you all the best of luck. And on that note, we're just about ready to finally wrap things up here, but not before I give you all one final thought not just for the day, but for the remainder of your lives. Everybody can succeed, all you need is to believe. Be honest with yourself, forget your fears and doubts. Thanks for giving us a try at Degrassi Junior High class of 1989! Please rise as we sing one last time, Degrassi Junior High School's song."

Purple and Blue, you know we'll be true,

Bringing victory and honor to your name, in the work that we do and the games that we play.

We will always make you proud, and bring you fame

Cause we'll fight, fight, fight with integrity and might.

We'll never ever let you down, Degrassi Junior High.

We hail thee, we wear your colours with great pride.

We strive for excellence in what we do at Degrassi...Junior...High!

YAHOO!

Upon the yahoo, everyone took their caps and threw them up in the air.

"Once again, congratulations Class of 1989 and thank you all for coming this afternoon!"

The End

Note from the Author:

I hope you all enjoyed my version of DJH's last episode Bye-Bye Junior High as I had writing it.

I began writing this project four years ago in May, but due to the lack of inspiration and motivation, not to mention struggling constantly with writer's block from time to time, I left it on the back burner for a bit. Over that time, I finally got to live out one of my biggest dreams, not once but twice in meeting the cast/crew of Degrassi, first on June 2nd 2018 and the second time was at Degrassi Palooza in 2019 to which I told everyone about this story. Not sure if anyone actually sat and read it though...this was simply done for fun basically. I have nothing against the original story, in fact, Bye Bye Junior High is one of my all time favorite episodes of the Degrassi series! This was probably one of the biggest projects I've ever done at over 117,188 words as of this posting. I'm sure some are probably wondering why I decided to put my own spin on this, I just felt more could have been told other than simply end at the school burning down to the ground. What about the aftermath? How did the characters handle the situation? What was their summer like? Many of these what if's is what drove me to write this and finishing it with the traditional Graduation from Junior to High School. If this episode was a 'made for TV movie', this is probably what it would look like.

I thank you all for taking the time to read this!