Fernie Academy.

Gowns on, caps off — Elk Valley students bid high school farewell

Fernie Secondary School, Elkford Secondary School, Fernie Academy and Sparwood Secondary School students graduate.

Fernie Secondary School

By Katelyn Dingman

Free Press Staff

Fernie Secondary Students celebrated the end of an era on Friday, June 26, as 57 students stepped onto the stage at Fernie Memorial Arena to accept their high school diplomas.

Several bursaries and scholarships, including the Dogwood District Awards, were presented to students in addition to the student’s most prolific high school memories being highlighted as they shook hands with Principal Bill Johnson and accepted their diplomas.

Speaking on behalf of the graduating class, valedictorian McKinley Richards shared some of her own high school memories, reminding students that as modern-day philosopher Hermione Granger said, “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery.”

School Board Trustee Frank Lento, Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano, School District No. 5 Superintendant Lynn Hauptman and Principal Bill Johnson also spoke during the ceremony, congratulating the students on their achievements and wishing them the best in their future endeavours.

The graduating class of Fernie Secondary School throw their hats in celebration.

Fernie graduate Austin Potyok receives her diploma.

 

Fernie Academy

By Sarah Kucharski

Free Press Staff

The Fernie Academy’s graduating class of eight celebrated the final honour of their educations during the Academy’s commencement ceremony at the Fernie Courthouse on Thursday, June 25.

“As our graduates approach the close of their time at the Academy, I trust that they feel confident and are well prepared to succeed in their chosen fields. We wish all the graduates of 2015, a happy, healthy and prosperous future,” said Academy Principal Jocelyn Sombrowski in her speech to the families and friends who gathered for the ceremony.

Sombrowski highlighted that many of the Academy’s graduates benefit so exceedingly from the Academy’s “strong liberal educational experience” that they leave with 150 credits to their name — almost double the 80 credits required by the Ministry of Education.

Valedictorian Sinde’lla Sugden reminded her peers and those in attendance of the invaluable lessons like overcoming obstacles, determination and perseverance that their high school experience had taught them.

“These are the lessons we will carry with us for the rest of our lives and I thank the teachers, the parents, and friends who have taken the time to show us the way,” said Sugden.

Sugden ended her valedictorian speech with a quote from the literary classic The Great Gatsby.

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer,” she quoted.

Sarina Jeffery celebrates graduating. Photo by J. Hide

The Fernie Academy 2015 graduating class consisted of (back row, left to right) Carter Nieuwesteeg, Trevor Jones, Keyten Kunst, Sascha van Zyl, (front row, left to right) Sinde’lla Sugden, Katelin Pater, Sarina Jeffery and Taya Vale. Photos by J. Hide

 

Elkford Secondary School

By Katelyn Dingman

Free Press Staff

Elkford Secondary School students gathered at the Dr. Hugh Twa Gymnasium on Thursday, June 25 to celebrate their final moments in high school.

With a graduating class of only 22, these students truly excelled, claiming nearly $20,000 in bursaries and scholarships during the ceremony.

Principal Doug Bolander presented the students with their diplomas in addition to congratulating each and every one of them on their successful completion of high school.

“Graduation is such a special occasion,” Bolander said in his principal’s message. “It represents the culmination of years of hard work, the actualization of goals attained and the acknowledgement of success achieved.”

Other guest speakers included School District No. 5 School Trustee Curtis Helgeson, School District No. 5 Superintendent Brent Reimer and District of Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher. Students William Ratudradra, Taylor Wurmlinger and Samuel Hubbard reminisced about high school, speaking highly about their classmates.

Valedictorian Duncan McCracken also addressed his fellow graduates, congratulating them on their successes and wishing them the best in their future.

Graduate Bryce Wittfoth receives his diploma from Elkford Secondary School Principal Doug Bolander.

Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher addressed the graduating class of 2015 at their commencement ceremony.

Sparwood Secondary School

By Katelyn Dingman

Free Press Staff

Dressed to impress, 41 Grade 12 students walked across the stage at the Sparwood Leisure Centre on Saturday, May 30.

Celebrating a milestone, the 2015 graduating class looked back on their recent achievements.

Valedictorian Jared Willett reflected on his years…and minutes at SSS, sharing memories of time spent with his fellow graduates.

“We have spent a total of 463,680 minutes in high school. In this time, we have been at our highest highs and our lowest lows,” he said. “Our years in school have been fun, challenging and rewarding, bringing with each new grade more challenges and changes.”

Willett thanked his parents and teachers for their ongoing support.

SSS Principal Frank Sopko also addressed the graduating class of 2015, giving the students his own words of wisdom.

“Speaking as a parent, I want you to always remember that friends will come and go but family is forever,” he said. “Your parents are happy to see you move on to the next challenge of your future but you will always be their precious child.”

Countless scholarships and bursaries were also presented to students.

Graduates Alex Isaacs and Morgan Klein. Photo by S. Kozler

Sparwood Secondary School saw 41 of its Grade 12 students graduate. Photo by S. Kozler