St. Augustine grads bid farewell

St. Augustine class of 2011 valedictorian Shelby Waknuk performs a song with Deanna Henderson during the school’s commencement on May 12.

St. Augustine class of 2011 valedictorian Shelby Waknuk performs a song with Deanna Henderson during the school’s commencement on May 12.

ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News

It is often the most sought after and most feared day of high school — graduation.

On May 12, the 34 students of the class of 2011 at St. Augustine School crossed the stage for the final time, collecting their high school diplomas.

The graduation ceremony, hosted by St. Augustine teacher Darren Josephison, was held in the elegantly decorated gym at the school.

After an address from Josephison, a prayer and the singing of O Canada, the teachers and students welcomed guest speaker Brad Normandeau to the stage.

Normandeau, who was a new teacher when he first taught most of the group in Grade 7, had a lot to share.

“Since Grade 7, I have seen the girls turn into confident, beautiful women and the guys, well, they became a little creepy,” quipped Normandeau.

During his address to the grads, Normandeau played video clips and pictures on a screen. He spent most of the time poking fun at the students that he has seen grown up.

“I have learned a lot from each and everyone one of you,” said Normandeau. “Shelby (Waknuk) taught me to be more careful with my answer sheets,” he said, referring to a time where he infuriated the young student after making a mistake while marking her test.

Normandeau estimates that through his years at St. Augustine he has spent at least 1,200 hours with each of the students.

After tears started to build in his eyes, Normandeau went on to explain what makes this year of grads special.

“These grads are exemplary models of servant leadership here at St. Augustine,” said Normandeau.

“Graduates, never lose this quality.”

“My final and most important request is to love,” said Normandeau.

He explained how when he told his class he was going to have a baby, a female student jumped up and down out of joy.

“This is how much we should love each other,” said Normandeau.

Before the presentation of the scrolls, valedictorian Shelby Waknuk addressed the crowd of nearly 200 as well as the graduates.

“Find what you love and pursue it with all of your heart,” said Waknuk during her speech. “This is our time to shine, class of 2011, let’s make the most of it.”

The final address of the night was from principal Kevin Prediger.

“Take a moment to look at the faces before you and remember their contributions to you,” he said to the parents in attendance. “Now grads, take a moment to celebrate your parents’ contributions to you.”

For Prediger, the ceremony is bittersweet because a lot of good kids are going to leave the school.

“They’re a fantastic group of kids,” said Prediger. “This group is very unique in their ability to be true servant leaders.”