More than 100 Grade 12 students walked across the stage on June 25, accepted their diplomas, and started their lives as adults.
During the graduation ceremony the scholars had the chance to listen to many speeches, by many different professionals, including their principal Rob Fisher, and Mayor Dennis Fenske.
During these speeches, the talks revolved around what tips to give the graduating class, as well as advice for their adult lives. These include to always wear sunscreen, to do something daily that scares you and to never give up hope.
Students also listened to one classmate that prepared a speech as he was named valedictorian. Vishal Bhagria, who is hoping to attend University College of the North in the fall to pursue nursing, gave a heartwarming speech that started with a shout out to his mom. “Thank you for being there for me through the thick and thin, through the last 18 years. I would not be standing here right now if it wasn’t for you, I love you mom.”
The valedictorian also thanked the parents, guardians, grand parents, and aunts and uncles for the countless drives to school at minus 40, to picking up the students when they fell, and making them feel like winners even when they lost.
Bhagria thanked the teaching staff of R.D Parker Collegiate. “To our teachers, and to those who supported us throughout the years, thank you. Without all of your extra time and dedication this room would be empty. “
But the biggest message went out to his classmates, the gradating class of 2015. “This is the end of our high school period. There will never be a time like this ever again. We will never be together in a room like we are now. Not all of us will go to safe grad, and not all of us will return for our reunion, so while we’re all here now, I want to say don’t let the bad experiences cloud the good ones, don’t like the struggles cloud your triumphs, and don’t let your tears drown out your happiness.”
Bhagria said the most important lesson learned throughout his schooling experience was mastering the art of perseverance.
The night continued with awards being presented. Morgan Hanson-Oliveira, a graduating student with honours with distinction, came out on top after winning a School District Board of Trustees Student Award for Academic Excellence, the governor general’s bronze medal, nine local scholarships, as well as three non-local scholarships.