Students of the Ponoka Outreach School got the opportunity to celebrate their personal and academic achievements at the seventh annual graduation recognition and awards banquet at the Kinsmen Community Centre June 16.
Grace was said by Anita Hoffman, dinner was served, O Canada was sung, and trustee Lorrie Jess gave greetings from the Wolf Creek Public Schools
She spoke about her niece who registered at the Outreach after struggling at Ponoka Composite High School (PCHS). Her niece, who went to Red Deer College to take social work, told Jess that if it weren’t for principal Lawrence Hrycan she wouldn’t have finished high school. He made such a difference in her life she decided to do the same for others.
“To the world, you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world,” Jess told the crowd when speaking about their principal and their chosen theme, “Making a difference.”
“Some people have a clear sense of calling and others may bounce around. Find what gets you out of bed in the morning and make a difference in the world,” she said. “Congratulations class of 09 and thank you Lawrence, for making a difference.”
“Listen to the voice of people who believe in you and keep them close to your heart. Let their voice guide you in your future as you venture out into the world to achieve your goals,” said Wanda Christensen, assistant superintendent of student services.
To Hrycan she said, “You’ve taken a good school and made it an outstanding learning environment allowing hundreds to find success. Everyone feels welcomed and accepted not matter what their situation may be. We will miss you and wish you continued success. Scott Lewis’ (incoming principal) heart and head are aligned on the same level and his is a voice that will allow students and staff to achieve great things.”
As she took her seat, Hrycan took the mic.
“Seventeen years ago the Alberta government started 12 outreach schools because traditional schools weren’t meeting the needs of all students. When I began here nine years ago, there were 60 students. Over 100 students each year for the past three years have passed through these doors. Nine years ago we were in a store -front with two rooms and seven years ago we held our first awards banquet at the old county building before they relocated,” he said. “Now look where we are and where we can go. Five hundred and thirty perogy plates were served on June 3 and over $1,700 was raised for the Outreach Scholarship Program proving we have built relationships, trust and respect in the community,“ he said.
He then discussed an excerpt from the book each grad would receive titled Making a Difference with Your Life reading, “human beings can alter life by altering their attitudes…”
He told students positive attitudes can touch people’s lives in ways they will never know and asked them to consider if there is anything they would like to change because it’s never too late to do so.
After he spoke, it was time for the presentation of awards to select junior high and senior high students.
The Lightning Dance Troupe performed shawl and grass dances, Jerry Saddleback did a traditional hoop dance that had the crowd in awe and 28 grads took the stage to receive their awards.
Brittany Hehr gave a gift to Hrycan thanking him on behalf of all students and graduates for being such an important and positive influence in their lives.