By Kate Urban
There was plenty of excitement in the air on June 29 at the Wickaninnish Community School as Principal Drew Ryan welcomed the Grade 7 graduates into the gymnasium to much applause from fellow students, the teachers and family members.
There was joy in the room as the students celebrated not only the end of another school year, but also the possibilities, which are inherent with the anticipation of new beginnings.
As each student took their turn at the microphone, a common theme emerged: the years they had spent at this school were jam-packed with many fond memories and moving forward is very exciting for this group of kids. Alexander Gardiner touched on an oft-repeated refrain, thanking the school staff for “the great memories,” which was echoed by Michael Meszaros. While there was certainly no shortage of applause for each student who took their turn at the microphone, some preferred to keep it short and sweet, “It was a great eight years and I’ll miss it” from some, to others who took the opportunity to share, in detail, their elementary school experience.
Grade 7 teacher, Ms. Hansen, was a regular recipient of the students’ complimentary and grateful remarks as was Ms. Morris, to whom Serena Porter specifically expressed appreciation for how she “pushed me outside of my comfort zone…and for so many great memories.”
Ms. Hansen got her fair share of warm hugs and expressions of thanks from students and parents alike.
Mackenzie Hale was not shy about her time at Wickaninnish Community School, stating “It was happy, sad and kicked-butt!” prior to thanking several teachers along with her family and friends.
Takota Potter also emphasised her deep gratitude by saying, “I want to thank my parents for all the help with my homework. Without you, I wouldn’t be standing here right now.”
There were many emotions exhibited throughout the ceremony, but any teariness that may have accumulated through the heartfelt moments was lifted when laughter rang out as Rowan Watson reminded her classmates of their year-end trip to Vancouver with memories, clearly privy only to those who attended, to which she concluded, “To wrap it up…WOW!”
Following the speeches and another fulsome round of applause, Principal Ryan supplied some beats over the sound system and the room of graduates erupted into a celebratory dance and then the hats came off.
Even though it took several moments, the crowd managed to quiet down one last time to enjoy a PowerPoint presentation with photographs covering the span of the school year with countless smiles during class trips throughout Clayoquot Sound and beyond, Halloween activities, unexpected snow days and so much more.
Principal Ryan provided a heartfelt reminder that they are welcome to visit in the future followed by cries of “good luck,” flowers, tears and smiles signifying the end of one part of their life journey before moving on to their next phase.