Ponoka Secondary Campus’ (PSC) graduates have reached a milestone that sets them up for the next stage of their lives.
Graduation ceremonies were held June 2 at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex with a large crowd of friends and family celebrating the day with students.
The much anticipated event gave teachers and administrators a chance to acknowledge students’ accomplishments this year, plus it was a way for principal Ian Rawlinson to offer his congratulations.
“Tonight as we close the door on your journey at PSC, we open the door to others,” said Rawlinson.
“I challenge each of you to go through that door with no fear and no hesitation.”
There was a list of dignitaries who took time to celebrate with students. Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins pointed out the journey that is life brings many different roads.
“As you take this first step and as you leave the security and confines of PSC, and move out into this world…you have those choices before you,” said Calkins. “Make good choices and be confident in what you’ve already achieved.”
He added that with determination, taking care of oneself and serving the community, students will be successful.
Speaking on behalf of Wolf Creek Public Schools was trustee Lorrie Jess who remembered her graduation at then Ponoka Composite High School in 1978. For Jess, sometimes the joy of high school is living in the ‘good old days.’
“If we knew we were in the good old days, I think we would have taken more time to be in the moment, rather than reminiscing or romanticizing about them so many years later,” said Jess.
She used that point to remind graduates to enjoy their time in the present.
In his speech to graduates, Rawlinson took some time to point out that kindness can go a long way to ensuring a positive environment for students. It was at this point he awarded Austin Kelln with the PSC Principal’s Award for having such a welcoming and caring attitude to students, teachers and parents that it helped create an environment of joy and gratitude.
Kelln is always opening doors for people bringing cheer to those he meets.
“He has always treated me and others with the utmost respect and kindness,” said Rawlinson.
“His heart is as big as he is.”
As a thanks to Kelln, a door was presented to him signed by the entire student population, plus all the faculty. The award drew ecstatic cheers and whoops from students and the audience.
Valedictorian Julianna Harvey
This year’s valedictorian is Julianna Harvey who celebrated the hard work of graduates.
She also thanked teachers who worked to ensure students had the skills they need after graduation.
“I think that the most important thing we will take on our path from high school is the idea of always being true to yourself and following your path,” said Harvey.
Whatever that path is, Harvey suggests graduates need to make a decision that is best for their lives. “The important part is to keep moving forward.”
She added that the definition of success is different for everyone but the best way to achieve an end goal is to surround oneself with those who are supportive.
“It’s better to be optimistic and wrong than to be pessimistic and right,” said Harvey.
Superintendent Jayson Lovell also added his congratulations to graduates and thanked PSC staff for their dedication.