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Heinsburg Community School celebrates the Class of 2024

The cadence of an honor song welcomed families to Heinsburg Community School on June 14 before all eyes turned to the balloon arch leading into the auditorium as seven made their way to the star-studded stage.

HEINSBURG – The cadence of an honour song welcomed families to Heinsburg Community School on June 14 before all eyes turned to the balloon arch leading into the auditorium as seven made their way to the star-studded stage. 

But it was Creadon Janvier, April Lajimodiere, Reyvon Pahtayken, Everett Quinney, Landon Smith, Serenity Stanley and Jakobe Tootoosis who were the true stars of the evening, that fact made clear by messages of pride and congratulations from representatives of Frog Lake First Nation Council, Cold Lake First Nations Council, 

St. Paul School Board, St. Paul Education, Frog Lake Education and Fishing Lake Employment and Education Services.

Creadon Janvier thanked the parents on behalf of the class. “When we fell down, you lifted us up, when we were studying,you brought us snacks, and we wouldn’t have made it to today without you. Thank you for the discipline and understanding, without it I would be a lost little boy.”

Karen Quinney answered for the parents. “We’ve been blessed to see all of you grow from small children to the point where you embark into adulthood. You are all destined for great things, and behind you are all your great memories.”

Serenity Stanley tragically lost her mother when she was in Grade 9, and offered heartfelt thanks to the staff, who “always went beyond the call of duty and made sure I had someone to talk to. They are not just employees who show up and go home, us grads are grateful for their hard work and dedication.”

Brenda Paulo-Begg answered on behalf of the staff. “I have been here 18 years and have watched you grow up from kindergarten to grad.  Sometimes we were tough on you, but our goal was to see you all here and I am so proud. The last few weeks have seen a lot of pressure but you pulled it off, and you are great role models to the rest of the kids.”

The graduates lined up as elders came forward to present each with an eagle feather prepared for the ceremony by elder Kenneth Saddleback, who told the class that a century ago, “the government didn’t allow us to wear these, to be Indians.” 

Presenter George Stanley was a 1976 Heinsburg School graduate, and went to the RCMP training Depot in Regina, inspired by a Native police officer. First on scene of the tragedy that took Serena’s mother’s life, he administered CPR “until the medics came.” To the grads, he advised, “The sky’s the limit. Don’t look back, success is in front of you.”

Following a slideshow of photos submitted by students, Heinsburg Principal Carmen McLeod thanked the families for their ongoing support, the staff for their endless hours, emcees Cheri Lindquist and Marie Zayac and the grad committee for the preparations for this special event. “And thank you, graduates, for being positive role models. “

“Today was really difficult. When I started here 12 years ago, most of these were my Grade 1 and 2 students. I had the privilege of watching them grow up, they were my babies, and those who joined us later became my babies too.” She recalled reading them stories and spraying them with ‘fairy dust’, “And they still sometimes came and asked for another spray.” Going on stage to give each one a final spray of ‘fairy dust’, she then sat down to read them one last story, from a book entitled ‘Be You’, ending “Go ahead and be you, be very, very you.”

Moments later, the grads wore caps and gowns and came forward to receive their scrolls and have their tassels turned before gathering at the balloon arch with caps in hand to fling them high in the air, in celebration of the completion of their high school years.

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