By Tiffany Williams
The Ponoka Outreach School held their sixth annual graduation recognition and awards banquet on June 16 at the Kinsmen Centre. More than 270 people were in attendance, approximately 100 more than last year, to honour 30 graduating students and 36 students from junior and senior high school for individual awards.
Outreach principal Lawrence Hrycan said that when he came to the school eight years ago there were 60 students and now 450 students have passed through the doors at the school. Hycran says that the school started for a variety of reasons and has really blossomed over the years.
“It started out for kids who were falling through the cracks and couldn’t exist in a traditional setting. Now it is changing into a school of choice,” said Hycran.
He says that the school will be active over the summer as there will be 75 to 100 students who will attend summer school, which he notes without the Outreach they would have to travel to Red Deer or Wetaskiwin for classes.
Hrycan believes that students and staff role model on a daily basis what it means to show and earn respect. He had only a few words to say to the graduates before they received their certificates.
“They are independent, resourceful, honest with their feelings, open and willing to share, have a great sense of humour and are fun to be around,” said Hrycan.
Lorrie Jess from the Wolf Creek Public School Board gave the students some words of wisdom on their journey. She focused on the fact that as people get older time seems to disappear and that the scary part is that the older people get the faster the years go by.
“My message to the grads is quite simple; do what you love, laugh when you can, apologize when you should and let go of what you can’t change, play fair, forgive quickly, take chances, give everything and have no regrets,” said Jess. “Life is way too short to be anything but happy.”
Brittany Hehr won two different awards; the Morna Chorney Memorial award and most positive contribution to school environment. She was very pleased with winning both awards.
“I was astonished winning, I didn’t think I would win the Morna Chorney award,” said Hehr. The award is given out for outstanding volunteering in the school and the community. She says that she enjoys the Outreach because there is more one on one with the teachers and you get to go at your own pace.
The evening also included entertainment by the Lightning Dance Troupe. The grads and parents were all smiles as they closed one chapter of their lives from the Outreach school, an asset to our community and opened another door.