Kamsack honours 14 graduates in high school graduation ceremony

The graduation of 14 Grade 12 students of the Kamsack Comprehensive Institute (KCI) was held on June 27.

At the afternoon program in the school’s gymnasium, the graduates were introduced and presented with their diplomas. Scholarships were presented and tributes were made by graduates in recognition of the support they had received in order to achieve their graduation day and replies were made. The valedictorian address was presented during the ceremony with the guest speaker concluding the program.

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Honoured as the 2019 KCI graduates were: Cade Henry-Martino, Emma Keshane, Annika Lachambre, Samantha Quewezance, Julianna Raabel, Keanna Romaniuk, Angelique Rossbach, Tanisha Severight, Kailey Sterzer, Adrianna Stevenson, Talitha Straub, Hayden Tourand, Noel Whitehawk and Koryssa Woloshyn. Cade Henry-Martino, Emma Keshane and Angelique Rossbach were unable to attend the graduation ceremonies.

Following the singing of O Canada, Tracy Forsythe, principal and Ryan Gareau, vice-principal, presented the graduates with their diplomas. Forsythe welcomed everyone, thanked the graduation committee and congratulated the graduates. “We here at KCI are very proud of you and the accomplishments you have reached. Follow your dreams and you will go far,” she said.

Gareau delivered a message to the graduating class from W. Thomas Molloy, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan.

“You have the distinction of graduating in the year we mark the 175th anniversary of the birth of Louis Riel. It was remarkable that a single generation produced two leaders of Riel and his Saskatchewan Lieutenant, Gabriel Dumont,” he said. “Today more than a century and half after Riel’s birth, despite grave injustices, Metis people are thriving. If you are Metis, I hope you take pride in your heritage. And to everyone else, I hope as you consider your future you are inspired by Riel who took advantage of every opportunity to further his education and cared deeply about his people and nation. I believe one of the great challenges of our time is to imagine a country where everyone is valued and made to feel that they belong.  Our future relies on your leadership, and your vision for Canada for all,” recited Gareau.

Gareau also recited the message on behalf of Gordon Wyant, director of education.

“Earning your Grade 12 diploma is an impressive accomplishment that takes initiative and hard work. Education is the foundation for success and today will be only the first of many rewarding moments you will have. I encourage you to celebrate this significant milestone with family, friends and educators who have helped to shape you into the graduate you are today,” he said. “As you consider your future plans, whether they include attending post-secondary education training or entering the workforce, there is no better place to begin your journey than in Saskatchewan. Our province offers many employment opportunities and has a strong economy and community,” concluded Gareau.

Various scholarships were presented to the graduates during the scholarship presentation portion of the ceremony.

Julianna Raabel was presented the Town of Kamsack scholarship of $500. The scholarship criteria stated the student must be a top academic student with an average of 99 per cent. Raabel’s academic achievement secured her entrance to McGill University in Quebec where she will be enrolled in the College of Bioengineering. Raabel also received the Kamsack Branch of the Legion award of $500; the first of three Kamsack Dental General Proficiency awards of $200; the Andrychuk Biology award of $300; the Darren Larson Memorial scholarship of $250; the Prairie Soil Services award of $500; the Eichler Family Heritage scholarship; the Access Communication scholarship and the Zarchikoff Leadership award of $200.

Raabel received a $3,000/year scholarship from McGill University (total of $12,000) plus an additional entrance scholarship from McGill of $7,000. She is also the recipient of the Valeyo Canada Learning Grant of $1,000 for academics, school and community involvement. The National grant is only offered to two students in Saskatchewan.

The Kamsack Affinity Credit Union presented four Elwood Harvey scholarships to two graduates and two Grade 11 students. Graduates Julianna Raabel and Koryssa Woloshyn each were presented this award as well as Ysabel Morenis and Shaelyn David (Grade 11 students).

Graduates Raabel and Woloshyn also each received the Affinity Build a Better World scholarships.

Graduate Kailey Sterzer received the KCI Staff scholarship of $200 and she also received one of four Pattison Agriculture General Proficiency Awards of $100. Sterzer is enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing program at Medicine Hat College where she also received a $1,000 entrance scholarship.

Graduate Samantha Quewezance received the 2019 Leland Campbell Kondratoff Perick scholarship of $200; the KCI Staff Following Their Voices scholarship of $200 and the Pattison Agricultural scholarship of $100 for General Proficiency. She also received a $1,000 entrance scholarship from the U of S where she is enrolled in the College of Arts and Science and is pursuing Psychology degree.

Graduate Koryssa Woloshyn received the Affinity Credit Union scholarship; was the second recipient of the Kamsack Dental scholarship of $200 and the Pattison Agricultural scholarship of $100 for General Proficiency. Woloshyn will be one of the first students enrolled in the new Dental Assisting program at the U of S in the fall of 2019. She also received a $1,000 entrance scholarship from the U of S.

Graduate Talitha Straub received the Pattison Agricultural scholarship of $100 for General Proficiency.

Graduate Annika Lachambre received the R.M of Cote scholarship of $250 and the Yorkton Cooperative Association Jake Berg Memorial scholarship of $500. Lachambre will be attending the University of Lethbridge where she is enrolled in an Entrepreneurship program.

Graduate Adrianna Stevenson received the Photography by Mitch scholarship of $200. She also was the recipient of the Queen's Jubilee Scholarship of $1,000. Each year schools nominate a candidate for this scholarship and the student must submit a portfolio describing challenges they have overcome during the school years.

Juanita Cote, a Grade 11 student, received the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall scholarship of $500. The scholarship is awarded to students in Grade 11 who have also overcome some hardships and have been resilient enough to be a successful student.

Graduate Keanna Romaniuk was the third recipient of the Kamsack Dental scholarship and the Ruth Cooper Memorial scholarship of $500.

Graduate Emma Keshane received the McMunn and Yates scholarship of $200.

Graduate Hayden Tourand was presented the Tyson Werrell Memorial scholarship of $200. Tourand will be attending Parkland College in the fall enrolled in the Heavy Equipment mechanics course.

Graduate Noel Whitehawk received the Kamsack Masonic award of $200. He will be attending Parkland College in the fall where he will be enrolled in the Heavy Equipment mechanics course.

Graduates Talitha Straub and Kailey Sterzer recited what each graduate would be remembered for in a legacy acknowledgement.

Graduate Annika Lachambre acknowledged the Good Spirit School Division contributions which was replied by Jamie Johnson. Graduate Samantha Quewezance acknowledged the First Nations in a toast and Santana Cote replied. Tanisha Severight gave the introduction and thank you to First Nations drummers. Graduate Keanna Romaniuk gave the toast to the teachers that was replied by Kevin Kitchen. Graduate Koryssa Woloshyn acknowledged the parents for all their support through the graduates lives. It was replied to by Kathy Cookson.

Graduate Julianna Raabel was chosen by her fellow classmates to give the valedictorian address.

"Graduating entails leaving our school years behind and beginning new chapters of our lives," she said. 'Today and in many situations we may encounter throughout our lives, the quote that our class chose holds true: “Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else.” While today we say goodbye to high school, our friends, teachers, and childhoods, we are beginning new adventures. Graduation is by no means the end of our learning or growth as people, but the commencement of discovering ourselves, our passions, and revealing what the future has in store for each of us.

The knowledge, skills, and understanding that we have come to during our years at Victoria School and KCI have created a solid foundation on which we will build the rest of our lives. We have been encouraged to explore our identities, values, passions, and priorities. In Tuesday’s with Morrie, one of my favourite novels we read in English, author Mitch Albom says, “The big things – how we think, what we value – those you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone – or society – choose those for you.” As you leave high school, I urge you to solidify your values and live by them in all you do.

 Ultimately, we have been given the opportunity to better understand each other. The most important thing we learn in high school is to be empathetic and understanding of others; that is what makes us good people. I hope that each one of you continues to embrace diversity and appreciate each other.

“Our teachers have had a significant impact on teaching us these life lessons. You have been our confidants when we needed one most, taking the role of our mentors, friends, and educators. Thank you for keeping not only your classroom doors but your arms open when we needed a shoulder to lean on. You have been instrumental to our success and graduation today, and we are thankful for the countless ways you have enhanced lives.

Although our class is small, we have made some unique memories together at KCI.

We have become dedicated not just to our schoolwork but our jobs, volunteering, and extracurricular activities, emerging as leaders in our community. Whether leading hundreds of people onto Juno beach to honor veterans who fought for our freedom, volunteering our time to work with and coach children, rekindling Indigenous traditions through dancing and singing at powwows, or becoming respected members of the workforce: we have proven that we are leaders in Kamsack. I am confident that we will continue to make great changes in each community we are members of.

“Despite the responsibilities we are going to gain in adulthood, I encourage you to find what you love to do, do it to the best of your ability, and embrace the opportunities that come your way. Push yourself to your full potential, but never lose sight of the things that bring you genuine, unparalleled joy. Whatever endeavors you chose to pursue, make sure they make you happy.

“Today, the future is no longer a distant thought, but a door that we are beginning to step through. We spent much of our childhood and teenage years thinking about our futures and we all had big dreams for ourselves. We pondered being old enough to go to the “big” school, drive, and graduate, like so many before us. We thought about what our careers would look like, an aspect of our lives that many are still uncertain about. In the future you might be a nurse, mechanic, or teacher instead of superman or a mermaid, but I hope that you will still have the imagination, marvel, and hope that you had when you were a child.

“Stepping into the future is exciting, confusing, and daunting all at once. Wherever your journey takes you, do what you love passionately and allow happiness to welcome you with open arms,” concluded Raabel.

Graduate Keanna Romaniuk introduced the guest speaker, Tyler Lorenzo.

"It has been fantastic seeing you mature from the little Grade 8 kids that I met when I moved here to the amazing young adults that you are today. Each of you have your own talents and I know that you will achieve whatever it is that you set out to be. You and your family should all be extremely proud of yourselves for being here today. I will speak on behalf of the staff that we all are," stated Lorenzo.

“Graduating high school is an amazing accomplishment and I am happy to see you all here today. For those going on to college or university, parents don’t get too excited about them leaving just yet, I am sure they will empty your wallets for the next few years. Also, students, here is your first-hand look at a long lecture. Here is some advice: get ready, act alert, and nod your heads every once in a while to seem awake.

“It always is a bittersweet day when the first class you taught won’t be back next year. It is also a great reminder of why teaching is so rewarding. Yes, with this class there have been a lot of challenges, but also a lot of great times. It is a great process to be able to witness first-hand the amount of growth mentally, socially, physically, and emotionally you have gained as you progressed from the awkward middle school kids that I first met to the amazing young adults you all are today.

“I would like to share some advice for the future that I have learned along the way. Some of it I learned in high school and university, some I learned through times of failure.

My first advice is to have perseverance. For many of you, school wasn’t easy, getting straight A’s was out of the picture and working hard just to graduate was a success. I would like to challenge you all to keep working hard, regardless of failure, what people think or say, and always be true to yourself. If I had given up every time something was too hard, or I had listened to the people who said I wouldn’t amount to anything, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

“Life is full of people who will try to bring you down but I know this group will fearlessly show them wrong. If I compare you all right now at this present moment, to myself when I graduated, you are all much more successful. I, unlike you, did not graduate on time. I had failed senior chemistry as life got in the way and sports were way more important to me at the time. This was actually the reason I decided to pursue a degree in chemistry as I wanted to prove everyone wrong. In fact, when I returned to the same high school that I graduated from, my history teacher was shocked that I was in my final stage of becoming a teacher. Not in a good way, like “I’m so proud of you” but in a way like “yeah right, you went to university?” But, if you follow your dreams, set goals and work hard to achieve them, you can do anything you set out to be. I am a perfect example of this. I was raised with the adage of “a true person’s character shines in the face of adversity. You can quit when things get hard, or you can power through obstacles.” High school was just one of many obstacles in your life that you have persevered through and I know that if you continue to power through these obstacles, you will be successful in whatever you choose to do.

“My second piece of advice is to be involved in your community. Many of you have already been highly involved in your community and school whether it was through SLC, building tiny houses, volunteering with music and athletics, and many others. The good news is that it is not too late to start. Each and every one of you have a special gift, whether its athletics, art, music, mechanics, cultural knowledge or leadership skills, and it is important to pass these gifts on to people. You also can make a difference in someone’s life for the better.  I wish I had learned the importance of this at a younger age. I didn’t start being involved in the community until I moved here and started coaching various sports. Sure, it makes you busier but the friendships, connections, and experiences last a life time.

“My third piece of advice is to not be afraid of the future or failure. If you don’t know what you want to do right now, that is okay. I bounced around many ideas of what I wanted to pursue. I thought about being involved in the medical field, personal training, sports management, and finally teaching. I left high school confused and not knowing what to do, like some of you. As I said earlier, life doesn’t always come out as planned, but it does have a way of leading you through different paths, some right, some wrong but my advice is to make your own path. Stay true to yourself, find your passion and pursue it. I realized that I wanted to work with youth and be able to coach hockey and football. This lead to me pursue teaching and I have found my true passion. Find something that doesn’t feel like work as you will likely work more than thirty years of your life.

Lastly, as your time here at KCI is just about done, remember what you have learned here, the people you have met, and the people who have helped you succeed. Take what you have learned and apply it to your next chapter in life. You are in control of where life takes you, make the most of it. Leave behind anything that will not help you advance in life," concluded Lorenzo.

At the conclusion of the program, the emcees reminded the graduates to return to the school for a formal photo, graduates and invited guests to attend a supper, and then a grand entrance and PowerPoint presentation.


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