It’s a right of passage into adulthood for teenagers and these ones got some sage advice from their first teachers.
A total of 33 students from St. Augustine School went through their graduation ceremony May 10 with many congratulations presented. None, however, had quite the effect of Georgia Williams and Sue Jacobson — who taught most of the graduates in Kindergarten.
“Today is a wonderful, special day you have been working toward a long 13 years. I still remember that first day — some excited, clingy, laughing, afraid. And that was just the parents,” Williams said, garnering some laughter.
“I’m so proud of what you’ve achieved and I look on with pride as you graduate. Allow the word of God to guide you. And be fair, kind, share, listen, have fun and keep your hands to yourself because what you learn in Kindergarten is important for the rest of your life.”
Jacobson, who also got to see most of the grads in Grade 8 and 9, stated, “I got to know some of you in Kindergarten, but then again as young adults and also those that joined over the years. You were sweet, polite and well-behaved so it was refreshing to see you all continue to be that way. It’s a testament to how your families raised you all so well.”
The pair then shared a poem — called Do You Remember — which drew both laughs and tears taking all back to Kindergarten plus another surprise, after a quick change, where the two in skater gear led the grads in one final dance of the Skateboard Rider song to a chorus of howls and cheers from the audience and the grads.
Class valedictorian Shannon Ross gave a thoughtful speech to the audience, focusing on words of inspiration for her diverse and talented fellow graduates.
“I have never met a more unique group of people, their individuality is truly extraordinary. My classmates are incredible at what they do,” she stated, adding this group are family regardless.
“Growing up at a time when diversity often pulls people apart, I’m proud we have embraced and respected our differences. We have learned the importance of faith and love, and although we may travel far from each other, we will take the memories and lessons from this time with us.”
St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic School Division superintendent Charlie Bouchard as well as Ponoka Mayor Rick Bonnett and Bruce Cutknife with the Nipisihkopahk Education Authority also provided their congratulations to the grads.
Grads then passed off the torch to the 2019 graduating class, while the last words — as well as handshake as he presented each grad with their scroll — went to principal Kevin Prediger in his address to the graduates.
He reminded them of the school motto — Let your light shine today, tomorrow, forever — noting each grad has shared their gifts and that they always remember what St. Augustine left them with.
”I hope your time here has assisted in giving you the foundation of service in love, in which you can direct the rest of your life. Know however, that each one of you has given much more to this community than you have received from us,” he said.
“All have let their light shine and in turn have brightened the lives of those around us and I have no doubt you will be positive contributors to any community you will be a part of.”