2002 ESS graduate, Jennifer Reddy, was the guest of honour at the 2017 Elkford Seconday School graduation ceremonies on June 29. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Graduates make Elkford confident in the future

Last Thursday, the community of Elkford came together to congratulate their graduating class of 2017.

After a processional and singing of O Canada, Lynn Hauptman of School District #5 congratulated the 17 graduates on a job well done.

“Don’t limit yourself, dream big,” she said.

“Don’t feel like you need to have the answers to everything right away. Take the time to listen,” she added.

Following this, Trustee Bev Bellina of the Board of School Trustees, and District of Elkford Councillor, Denise Bertrand also congratulated the students.

2002 ESS graduate, Jennifer Reddy, was then invited to address the class. She is extremely accomplished in her study of economics and education. After graduating from the London School of Economics &Political Science in 2009, she received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Calgary, her certificate in Curriculum Development and Instructional Design from Mount Royal University, as well as numerous leadership training courses. Reddy recently returned from a trip to Guyana where she worked as an education master with Cuso International.

She spoke to students about how growing up in Elkford is a unique experience.

“Elkford is unique because you grow up as part of your DNA. You grow up with this curiosity and resilience that nobody else really gets to have, and that’s really special,” she said.

Reddy also spoke about how she barely finished high school, and struggled when her family moved there from Fiji. However, she said that the consistent group of supportive adults in the community and the school, helped her adapt and adjust to the change.

She then asked the students to imagine two overlapping circles. On one side, she requested they think of something in the world that makes them mad, or something they disagree with. On the other side, they were asked to imagine something they were good at, and that they enjoyed doing.

“The space in between those two circles, the overlap, is what’s next for you,” said Reddy. “It’s exciting and it’s scary, but you already have the ambition and talent to be able to move forward.

“As the class of 2017, you will be faced, as you know, with some of the most complex issues that our world has ever faced. But when I look at you, I have no doubt that I’m not worried about the future, because I along with everyone here, trusts in your capability to make it better. So congratulations!”

Erica Vogt and Triston Hooper were then invited to give the Commencement Class Historians’ Address.

After certificates, scholarships and bursaries were awarded, Dana Barclay gave her valedictorian’s address. She cautioned her fellow graduates to not cave into the pressures of society, and thanked everyone for a wonderful 12 years of school together.