Instead of throwing a formal spring dance, the graduating class of 2016 elected to say farewell to their wonder years with a healthy dose of adrenaline.
The final grad trip of 2016 included navigating the Monkido adventure course in Nanaimo and dropping 140-feet from a giant pendulum ride called Primal Swing.
“You’re harnessed in and they sit you on the edge of the bridge and basically count one-two-three and push you off. I was terrified of it,” said class of 2016 graduate Everett Watson. “We did the math in physics class and we calculated we were going about 100km/hour.”
Following the adrenaline experience, the grads celebrated with sushi dinner in Port Alberni.
“It was a really fun day. The kids that came had one last hurrah together,” said vice principal Mike Rhodes.
Another major highlight of the year for several of the senior students was the Geography Club 12 trip to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico in April. The students visited numerous Mayan archaeological sites including Uxmal and Chichen Itza.
“It was pretty awesome. I’ve been to Mexico twice before and both times I stayed at an all inclusive resort and did the tours,” Watson said.
“You don’t really get to see Mexico when you do that. You just see the tourist facade of Mexico. You don’t get to talk to the people. We had a local guide from Mexico take us around to all these neat places that you would never be able to go to if you just went to a resort.”
The Ucluelet Warriors also had some athletic success this year. Heather Morrison and Mayben Crabbe dominated at the National High School Wrestling Championships in Calgary with Crabbe becoming the school’s first ever national champion.
And, for the first time in history, the USS women’s senior volleyball team qualified for Provincials.
“The highlight there was getting a 23-25 set against the number one team, which is Immaculata. They are defending champions and they also won,” said coach Lucia Lyons.
“I’m gonna miss them. It was a great season and I’m very happy we were able to get to play at the provincial level. I hope that they continue to play more volleyball in their lives.”
Rhodes, who has coached Morrison, or one of her older siblings, for the past 17 years said he is is going to genuinely miss this group of kids he has trained.
“It will be sad to see them go but I know they are going to go on to do great things. Heather got a prestigious admission to Mount Royal University to do the midwifery program,” Rhodes said.
“I can see some of them coming back and getting into either coaching or reffing. A lot of them over the years have helped the elementary kids and they get a lot out of that.”
Anyone and everyone from the community is welcome to attend the graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 11 at the USS gym.
Watson said he will particularly miss the closeness of the Coast.
“Being able to have these connections with all these different people in the community was special,” he said.
“Especially in winter time when it’s only the locals here and everything is cold and wet but everyone is in the same boat. It’s a neat environment. And, of course, it’s gorgeous here.” Watson will spend the next chapter of his life studying engineering at the Royal Military College in Ontario.
Out of the 23 students receiving high school diplomas at the end of June, some will travel, some will dive straight into post-secondary, and others want to take time to explore their options.
“The world is wide open,” Rhodes said.