The St. Augustine School gymnasium was packed with friends and family of 23 grads to be as the 2009 commencement ceremony took place on May 21.
The grads were seated on stage in their caps and gowns as guest speaker, St. Augustine School art teacher, Kelly Shimp, gave a heartwarming speech congratulating the grads on their growth throughout the last number of years and wishing them all the best in their future endeavors.
It was then time for a slideshow presentation of each grad outlining their personal interests, favourite memories, and future plans that included everything from welding, physical therapy and music, to federal politics, nursing and travelling abroad for one year before making any serious decisions.
After the slideshow, Kyle Morrow took the mic to give the valedictorian address.
“I am honored to be able to speak to you all this everything to represent the class of 2009. We always hear parents and teachers say life flies by too quickly. I think it is fair to say we finally know what you mean,” he said prior to reminiscing about memorable school events that have happened throughout the years.
“It’s startling how time has flown by so swiftly and how many people influences us along the way” he stated, thanking the teachers and parents ¬¬– “the bedrock of our support through times of trial and triumph” – for making all of their accomplishments a possibility. “Thanks for your commitment, diligence, and devotion,” he declared.
Morrow then emphasized the importance of being an active, concerned member of the community. He shared an anecdote about a boy who was walking home from school one day and dropped everything he was holding in his arms when someone stopped and helped pick up the items that were scattered on the road. The boys continued to see one another in school and as time passed and they were finally seniors, three days before graduation the boy who spilled everything told his friend he had cleared everything from his locker that day so many years ago because he had planned to commit suicide until a simple act of kindness one afternoon saved his life.
“How many people would ignore a child being bullied? How many people would have simply kept on walking?” Morrow asked. “I hope we can recognize the value and strength of community and change the lives of those around us,” he said before noting no obstacle or challenge is too grand or to complex for his generation and mentioning a Ronald Regan quote that can be found underneath his grad photos starting – ‘the future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted – it belongs to the brave.”
“Let us not forget all the memories we had together and the people who helped us along the way. Congratulations class of 2009 – we did it,” he concluded.
Principal Kevin Prediger shared his words of inspiration and motivation with the class as well.
“They are articulate, confident and full of wit. These young men and women sitting before you have all shared their gifts, however varied, contributing to a school community of leaning, loving and serving” he said. He continued on to stress the significance of the relationship shared amongst student, parent and teacher helping raise successful members of society.
“I have no doubt they will all be positive contributing members to whichever community they choose to reside. I hope your time at St. Augustine gave you a foundation upon which to build the rest of your lives. Each of you has given more to the community than you have received. From your laughter, kindness intellect and service to others, I thank you for sharing that spirit with all of us. May your light shine on as you enter a new chapter of your personal journey as it has been our pleasure to have you in our lives.”
Following Prediger’s speech, the grads made their way to the front of the room to receive diplomas before gathering on stage to toss their hats and pose for pictures.
On May 22, grads arrived at St. Augustine School in dresses and suits for a banquet. Grace was said by Pamela Radchenko and was followed by a greeting from Maria Lentz representing the school board, MP Blaine Calkins, Mayor Larry Henkelman and the superintendent’s address given Linda Ellefson. They were followed by a toast to the grads from the teachers given by Brad Normndeau and a toast to the teachers given by Aylan Hougton and Czarina Mendoza. A toast to the grads from the parents was given by Rhonda Meredith and a toast to the parents from the grads was given by Karey Farnham and Savannah Gowalko.
Immediately following the speeches and a small break, grads and their dates were introduced at the gym entrance where they proceeded to walk around its perimeter before meeting on the dance floor to enjoy the remainder of the evening.
On Sunday, it was off to the West Edmonton Mall for an afternoon of fun and celebration concluding two fast-paced days of marking milestones.