There were emotional speeches and words of wisdom mixed lots of tears of joy as the Ponoka Outreach School sent off this year’s 33 graduates for the next phase of their life journeys with a ceremony at the Kinsmen Community Centre on Thursday,
Opening the ceremonies, Assistant Principal Rob Pearn admitted that the road to graduation for the new graduates had not been all smooth and that “some have been bumpy.” But Pearn said the time was to celebrate the successes of the graduates regardless of the roads left behind.
Newly elected Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr was on hand to advise the outreach graduates that academic learning was only one of the ways to become educated. “Continue to seek wisdom in other ways,” Orr said, recommending the graduates to learn from life experiences of others. Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) trustee Lorrie Jess advised them not to rush in making important decisions. “It is OK if you don’t know what to do next, you will figure it out,” she said, adding that “Life is short, time flies.”
Assistant Superintendent WCPS Jayson Lowell urged the graduates to be thankful for the support they have received through their journey in their secondary education process. He advised them to be appreciative of the efforts of their parents and the school staff and wished them well in their future endeavours.
Christin Cardinal, herself a mother, made a speech on behalf of the graduates to pay tribute to all the parents for their sacrifices. Her emotional speech interrupted with lots of tears and a shaking voice also led to tears among the guests. Danika Hudson-Mcleod, who received the IODE award, delivered the toast to the teachers. “Our hard work is mostly the teachers’ hard work,” she said. “I am grateful for my experience in this school.”
Paying tribute to the students was Humanities teacher JohnMacEachern, who said he “admired the guts of the students” because they were determined to learn. “Learning is not always easy,” he said and described the graduates as “heroes” for their determination to complete their high school education.
Assistant Principal Pearn also had a few words of wisdom for the graduates. “There will be hardship ahead,” said Pearn, “work hard and learn from your mistakes.
Following the presentations of their diplomas to the graduates, the ceremonies concluded with a ceremonial round dance.