The 2012 graduates of Ponoka Composite High School were busy last weekend celebrating the culmination of 12 years of school. While each of the 144 graduates deserves praise for their accomplishment, some were presented with awards of excellence during the ceremony June 1.
Jason Rausch was presented with the Almita Scholarship by Ken Stebner. The award is given to a student who is pursuing a post-secondary education in an engineering program.
“On behalf of Almita and staff we wish you the best of luck in your engineering studies,” said Stebner.
Mark Ferguson was presented with a $416.67 award and certificate from Sunny 94 for his studies in a communications or fine arts area of study. Principal Ian Rawlinson kept him on stage to present Ferguson with a last-minute award from the Canadian War Museum, the Colonel Douglas H. Gunter Award. Ferguson is one of five recipients in Canada for songs and music videos he wrote about the impact the War of 1812 had on Canadians. It was a $1,000 award.
Ferguson was speechless. “I was overwhelmed,” he stated simply. He will pursue a bachelor of music degree at the University of Calgary.
A new award this year was the Russell Petterson Memorial Award, presented by his daughter Terry Oakes, to Kit Christopher. Petterson was the first principal of PCHS when it was built in 1966.
“Our family wanted to create a lasting memorial for him that would honour his memory,” said Oakes.
The Tom Butterfield Creating Cowboys Scholarship Award was presented to two students — male and female — who will pursue either a trade or post-secondary school as well as be involved in the rodeo.
Gary Harbin introduced Inge Sybrandi, and also complimented Alex Cripps for carrying on the high school rodeo academy. He said Tom Butterfield was “a unique character.”
“I had the pleasure and honour of being a friend, I should say the other way around, he was my friend. I guess the two words that best describe Tom Butterfield are honesty and integrity,” he stated.
He advised students to follow Butterfield’s example. Sybrandi is also the Ponoka Stampede’s resident artist who donated $10,000 to the scholarship fund and she presented Logan Bonnett and Tynille Clemmer with $500 awards.
Samson Chief Marvin Yellowbird presented an award from Peace Hills Insurance, which recognizes academic excellence in a First Nations student.
“I would like to congratulate all First Nations students graduating tonight, you make me proud. So many doors are open to you now, just kick the door down and walk through.”
The $500 award was presented to Natawnie Louis.
Rawlinson had a difficult time deciding from among the many students whom he felt best suited for the PCHS Principal’s Award.
“Every year I have a sleepless night or nights when presenting the principal’s award. So many are deserving and I narrowed it down from about 150 to 30 to 10, then got it to four. I weeded down to two a few weeks ago and sat on it, till a few hours ago.”
He did however make his decision and Katrina Pylypow was the recipient. The principal chose Pylypow because of her dedication to schoolwork, but also for her selfless nature and giving attitude. “She won’t accept the status quo and she will have a great future ahead of her.”
These are the other winners and awards from the graduation ceremony:
• Kit Christopher and Taylor Kim, Valedictorian Award. Both valedictorians gave a speech to graduates and parents.
• Jessa Galloway, Schmidt Kelm Award.
• Ashton Udal, Birchland Dental Clinic Scholarship.
• Drake McCheyne, Corkery Student Leadership Award.
• Justin Ward, Jo-Ann Social Fund Citizenship Scholarship.
PCHS graduates rewarded for outstanding academic work
• Isaac MacDonald, Will’s Welding Scholarship.
• Megan Sweet, Ponoka Kinette Award.
• Jordan Moorcroft, Mecca Glen Parent Council Scholarship.
• Katrina Pylypow, Judy Ness Scholarship.
• Erika Cissell and Camille Tschabold, Mitchell Family Bursary Award.
• Taya Hoar, Crestomere School Council Scholarship.
• Brooke Pearman, Riverside Legacy Scholarship.
• Shawn Williams, Ponoka Lions Club Award – most improved student.
• Amanda Klimec, Ponoka Lions Club Award – general proficiency award.
• Drake McCheyne, Rollie Comeau and Bryan Martin Academic Scholarship.
• Jenna Brake, Pat Radke Memorial Scholarship.
• Tyler Bell and Joel Beaubien, Ponoka High School Class of 1961 Reunion Award.
• Ryan Raugust, Ryan Kinley Memorial Scholarship.
• Isaac MacDonald, Brett Rogalski, Dexter Hucal, Kyle Culford, Andrew Green, and Joel Beaubien, Registered Apprenticeship Program Awards.
• Shelbie Matheson, Paula Lopez, and Kathleen Fairbrother, Green Certificate Program.
By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye