As grads take on a new chapter in their lives their accomplishments must be celebrated.
Grade 12 students at the Ponoka Composite High School (PCHS) celebrated their last year of high school June 7 among parents, friends and family. This evening many students were also recognized for accomplishments above and beyond everyday school work and these are some of the highlights.
Vice-principal Ron Rarick was proud to present the awards and thanked the sponsors for their support. “It’s not possible without the great sponsors in our community.”
Principal Ian Rawlinson had two students he wanted to pick this year for the Principal’s Award and rather than choose between the two, Rawlinson decided on both. “I debated and debated and debated.”
The decision came at the last minute to award Brianna Green and Matthew Korchinski. Rawlinson enjoys having some freedom in the decision. “It’s also the toughest thing I have to do.”
Green was chosen because she is “someone who is all about the we, and not about the me.”
“She’s the first to be seen when someone is down and out,” he added. “She is kind, considerate and works extremely hard.”
Korchinski was added moments before the graduation ceremony because Rawlinson sees himself in Korchinski.
“He always takes responsibility for his actions even if his actions were completely inappropriate,” Rawlinson joked. “I think this kid is a super kid and he has an awesome future ahead of him.”
A new scholarship this year is in honour of Brett Wiese, a lover of sports such as golf and hockey. Parents Brenda and Jody Wiese presented the $2,500 scholarship over a three-year period to Nicholas Grant for strong academic excellence and a passion for sports.
The Wieses received much support from the community and PCHS after the death of Brett, said Mrs. Wiese. Much of that support came in the form of donations for a scholarship fund. “We felt that this is very important to present this to a student who most closely represents Brett. Somebody who is passionate of sports, specifically golf and hockey, and somebody who loves to learn and loves to have fun.”
There were 49 First Nations graduates at PCHS this year and a special $500 award from Peace Hills Insurance went to Logan Nepoose for his dedication to PCHS and for pursuing a post-secondary education.
Shirley Petterson presented the Russell Petterson Memorial Award to Morena Stamm, Petterson is the daughter-in-law of former principal Russell Petterson. Mr. Petterson was the first principal of the high school under the name of PCHS and a highlight of his career was moving into the school from the old location. “He loved the building. He loved the staff, all of the students that he had to deal with over the years.”
Stamm was presented with this award for attending post-secondary education and for contributions to the school in music, art, science or math.
Rodeo is a part of many students’ lives in Ponoka and two students received special recognition in the form of the Tom Butterfield Creating Cowboys Scholarship. Students who receive this award are recognized for pursuing either a trade or post-secondary education and who stay involved with rodeo. Tamara Bonnett and Jordan Pritchard were recognized with $500 and Ponoka Stampede director Gary Harbin spoke of the importance of a strong character and living by the Code of the West.
“Live each day with courage, take pride in your work, always finish what you started, do what has to be done. Be tough but be fair, when you make a promise, keep it.”
Commencement award winners:
• Lori Matheson for the Schmidt Kelm Award, $500
• Karlee Sieweke, Birchland Dental Clinic Scholarship, $500
• Shania Kjenner and Stephanie Rowland, Mitchell Family Bursary Award, $500
• Shania Kjenner, Mecca Glen Parent Council Scholarship, $500
• Blake Hinkley, Will’s Welding Scholarship, gifts valued at $500.
• Rachel Rarick, Ponoka Kinette Award, $500
• Douglas Wilton, Masonic Higher Education Bursary, $2,000
• Cassidy Corkery and Douglas Wilton, Mrs. Juliea Ness Scholarship, $750
• Douglas Wilton, Riverside Legacy Scholarship, $500
• Cassidy Corkery, Calumet Synergy Association Scholarship Excellence Award, $500
• Stephanie Rowland, Corkery Student Leadership Award, $500
• Morena Stamm, Friends of Crestomere Scholarship, $500
• Morenna Stamm, Russell Petterson Memorial Award, $500
• Morena Stamm, Sunny ’94 Scholarship, $625
• Irene Ha, Ponoka Lions Club Award – most improved student $500
• Lauren Sieben, Ponoka Lions Club Award – general proficiency award, $500
• Paige Bonnett, Pat Radke Memorial Scholarship, $500
• Tamara Bonnett and Jordan Pritchard, Tom Butterfield Creating Cowboys Scholarship, $500
• Jordan Pritchard, Glen Armitage Memorial Scholarship, $2,500
• Jagger Chalmers, Ryan Kinley Memorial Scholarship, $500
• Blake Hinkley and Travis Wedlund for welding, Colton Gervais and Cole Pritchard for electrician and Josh Simons for auto technician, Registered Apprenticeship Program, $1000 scholarship
• Lori Matheson for equine and Kornelius Spek for dairy, Green Certificate Program, certificate
• Nicholas Grant, Almita Scholarship, $500
• Nicholas Grant, Brett Wiese Memorial Scholarship, $2,500 scholarship over three years
• Logan Nepoose, Peace Hills Insurance Award, $500
• Madison Czapp, Iris Zipse Memorial Scholarship, $450
• Morgan Wiese, Jo-Ann Social Fund Citizenship Scholarship, $200
• Morgan Wiese, Rotary International, $1,000
• Presley Waknuk, Rollie Comeau and Bryan Martin Academic Scholarship, $500
• Presley Waknuk, Valedictorian Award, $500
• PCHS Principal’s Award, Brianna Green and Matthew Korchinski, $500