They came, they collected diplomas, they sang, marched and danced and the 172 graduates of the ECS class of 2012 had a great time celebrating their academic rite of passage.
Their valedictorian implored them to remember that just because they had graduated from Grade 12, that did not entitle them to all of life's promises. There was more work to do.
Following the invocation by teacher Wes Kreklewich, Mike Little their principal and master of ceremonies for the program, told them to enjoy life's journey and to splurge on life by doing something they love.
The Grade 12 graduating ceremonies at Spectra Place attracted hundreds of family members, friends and loved ones who applauded as each deserving graduate walked across the stage to accept their Grade 12 certificate of achievement.
Vice-principal Allison Holzer provided the tribute to the senior ring and pin and presented them to Bailey Holzer and Stefan Seipp who paid tribute to the parents for their undying devotion to their now young adult offspring.
Philip Holzer and Doni Seipp made the response on behalf of parents, a heartfelt moment of departure in one sense, while evoking the sense of a beginning of an exciting new chapter.
Kaitlyn Pilloud and Kristen Seipp thanked the teachers for their dedication and for ensuring that they could continue to keep pursuing their dreams and their tribute was responded to by educator Grant Marshall.
A video presentation featuring each of the grads was then enjoyed by the assembled audience and that was followed by the valedictory address delivered by Kayleen Wingert. (See accompanying article below)
The graduation choir and band directed by Allison Holzer and Kyle Whitehead (respectively) provided the appropriate interludes and the diploma presentations were carried out by vice-principals Holzer and Walter Wood with names announced by principal Little.
The grand march, featuring the grads not in their caps and gowns, but rather in their grad gowns and tuxedos, followed one hour after the graduation recessional.
The evening's dance and social was completed with a lunch provided by parents and volunteers.
A list of the various scholarships, awards and bursaries captured by the graduating students was also posted in the program.
ECS principal leaves strong message with grads
When Mike Little took to the stage last Wednesday afternoon to address the graduating class of 2012, he spoke with some authority ... having been through this process before, but also with heart.
He had a daughter among the graduating class ... but that's been done before by others. But it still makes the event a little bit special for those on the administrative side who go through the ritual every year. This year vice-principal Allison Holzer was probably going through similar emotions since she too, was in similar circumstances.
Little opened his address to the 172 grads of 2012 with the hope that this would be a day they would not easily forget since it was the first step for them toward promising futures.
“Graduation is time for decision making. Your decisions may not change the world order, but they will change your world. Today, like a builder, you are laying the foundation for your future,” he told the graduates.
He noted that some of them have lofty ambitions, some plan on seeing the world, some will be content with a simpler lifestyle. He urged all of them however, to reach out to attain a personal best.
The theme for the graduating class, of living every day and loving every moment was one the principal said he appreciated and in dealing with that theme, he wanted to leave them with a few messages that they might find helpful along life's road.
He noted the first message was one of realizing that life was, in fact, a journey and they, the grads, should enjoy it, noting there will be bumpy times, but the good definitely outweighs the bad.
A second message was for the grads to remember to never be afraid to dream, because the dreams could become reality with perseverance, faith, opportunity and a little luck.
The third message he wanted to deliver was one of taking pride in their family, the group they owed a debt of gratitude to for standing by the grads and will continue to support them in the years to come.
He also reminded the graduates to get involved in something they love to do, to find a challenge, a career that is balanced with meaningful work that can provide enjoyment daily and not to worry about what people might think of them. He said that time was a limited resource, so it was important not to waste it on things that wouldn't be important.
“Be happy with who you are,” Little said.
He also told the graduating class that saying thank you to someone, at least once a day, will lead to other good things.
The principal also urged the young adults to practise patience and humility and to remember that things will come to them when they are ready to handle them. He urged them to become global citizens, to work on making the world a better place than when they found it and that could begin by protecting the environment.
And as the final two points, Little said it was important for them to exercise compassion and to live a life that adhered to their graduation theme to live every day and love every moment. “Life is too short, so cram as much fun into it as you possibly can.”
Little, on behalf of the staff, closed his remarks by noting “we hope that whatever you do and wherever you go, you will fondly remember your time here and be proud to say 'I graduated from ECS.' May God bless you in all the years to come and may your futures be even brighter than your expectations today.”
Valedictorian delivers message of promise
The following is the speech delivered by Kayleen Wingert, the 2012 ECS valedictorian:
The universal truth we all must face is that everything comes to an end, whether we want it to or not.
The last chapter of a good book, the last fruits of summer. But endings happen, you close the book, the seasons change.
Today is one of those endings, as we say goodbye to everything that is familiar, to all that is comfortable. Although we have looked forward to our graduation our entire lives, change is not always easy. Today marks an ending, and although we are reminiscing about the past, we mustn't forget to look towards the future. For it is a new beginning, a chance to start fresh, to make mistakes, to try new things. Even though the uncertainty of the future is scary, this is our time to live, to find out who we are and who we want to become. The theme for this year's graduating class is: Live every day, love every moment. This piece of advice is one we should take to heart as we embark upon the next chapter in our lives.
We have much to be thankful for today.
Firstly, let us thank our teachers who have put up with us for the past 13 years. For dealing with us when we asked a question to which the answer was given about five seconds earlier, repeatedly asking to move back test dates and constantly complaining when homework was assigned. Here we have received a high degree of academic excellence. Whether we choose to continue our schooling or join the workforce, what we have learned here has value.
Next, we give thanks to our parents. Without your love and support, receiving our diplomas today would not have been possible. Words cannot measure the thanks and appreciation we give to our parents on this day. They have shaped the person we are today, and the person we will become in the future. So much a part of us, they are the small voice inside our heads and hearts that will be with us, no matter what direction life takes us.
We can also be thankful for each other. For we have grown and matured together, as just four short years ago we were wide eyed little Grade 9s, clustering in the hallways. I hope that as we leave this building today, we can continue to learn from one another, and support each other in our future endeavours.
As young adults we must understand that graduating from Grade 12 does not entitle us to all of life's promises. We need to realize that we must work in order to achieve our goals. Life is quid pro quo, which is Latin for what you give, is what you get. A true testament that hard work pays off is that I am standing before you on this stage today.
Now as we receive our high school diplomas, it is the responsibility of each student to use the tools we have been given, to take the road less travelled, and to fulfil the promises of all our dreams. Remember to live, love, laugh and stay true to yourself.
We all have the potential to achieve greatness. In the words of Ralph Emerson, 'what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared with what lies within us.'
Congratulations and good luck to the class of 2012. We made it!