MYRNAM - It was the first time since 2019 that the graduates of New Myrnam School, Myrnam Outreach and Homeschool Centre could celebrate together with families and friends, and a near capacity crowd did just that on Saturday evening, as the Class of 2022 came together to mark the end of their high school years.
Mistress of ceremonies Megan Saruk introduced grads Madison Bykewich, Perry Crossan, Wren Crundwell, Lucas Dubelt, Olivia Goddard, Kathi Loewen, Kalla Morritt, Kendra Porcina, Jaeanna Saskiw and Maria Wall as they took their places on stage before violinist Nelly Boese played O Canada on violin.
MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk praised the hard work that got the grads to this point and predicted a bright future when they should “say yes to new opportunities, move forward and take chances. Huge congratulations as you move forward and make new decisions.”
Member of Parliament Shannon Stubbs was unable to attend, but sent a message that graduation means “something different to every one of you… you may be sad, excited and confused all at the same time. This is your time to take your path, to make your decisions and to change your mind. Own your choices, and enjoy your journey.”
St. Paul Education Regional Division trustees Jan Rajoo and Darcy Younghans were both present, Rajoo telling the grads, “Every person here is proud of you. You are each a star. The staff, families and friends made sacrifices so that you would be successful, and I, Darcy and the school board salute your success. Stars want nothing but the best and you are all stars.”
County of Two Hills Coun. Don Gulayec said he is “looking forward to hearing your names linked up with accomplishments” and noted former Myrnam student Josh Kutryk is now in Florida, becoming an astronaut, and “you have all the expertise, the doors are open. You are the next movers and shakers.”
Myrnam Mayor Donna Rudolf called graduation “One of the most monumental steps of your life, and it won’t be the last. Most important will be your life experiences. Keep moving, keep learning”
Principal Adrienne Owen told these “young people on the cusp of adulthood” that at their age ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho, was one of her favourite books and that she would be giving each a copy. This “allegory of a young man seeking directions in a chaotic world” saw him gain wisdom from those he met along the way, she said. “You have what it takes. You know what you want. Be comfortable in your own skin; take good care of you and your heart’s desire. Listen to your heart, be observant.” Graduation is “the end of an era for each of you, closing a chapter. This is just the beginning of the rest of your lives.”
Lucas Dubelt offered “a big thanks to the staff who made a big impact on me and my classmates. Teachers can be underappreciated, and we are grateful, we see you staying after school to help us, and you have given us special memories that make the biggest difference in your lives. That is true education.”
Danielle Erickson, who taught his class since junior high, said seven years ago, “I wanted to see this Grade Seven class graduate. Working with kids is hard work, and watching you walk across this stage makes it all worth it. Don’t close the book on us, we will still be here for you.”
Dubelt shared Valedictorian honours with Madison Bykewich, who thanked everyone on behalf of the class for their commitment to the students. “We are all unique,” Dubelt said, “but we shared being part of this amazing school.
Bykewich said she learned “the value of hard work, and that everything happens for a reason. Find joy in what you do, be yourself and be proud of what you do,” while her co-valedictorian urged their classmates to “utilize every opportunity to have fun and be crazy, but remember there is already enough wrong in the world,” and reminded them “No matter where we go, we have this community to fall back on.” In closing, Bykewich called this “a day we will all remember; cherish those memories and the valuable lessons we have learned.”
Keith Gamblin, principal at the school from 2013 to 2019, was the guest speaker, saying, “You did it, with your hard work, discipline and determination, despite the obstacles you faced.” He congratulated their “first teachers, the parents and grandparents, you too have faced huge obstacles, and thank you for your partnership with us.” The grads are “as well prepared as you can be… for life after high school, you have learned to be successful problem solvers.” In Grade 8, they built an irrigation system for the greenhouse, and had to learn trigonometry to make it work, he noted. In closing, he urged them to “set your goals high, put yourself out there and go for it.”
Wren Crundwell thanked the parents on behalf of the class “from the bottom of my heart. We appreciate all you have done for us to prepare us for this glorious towering moment. You tried to give us everything we needed.”
Her mother replied, “we watched you grow from toddlers to young adults… go out in the world and find your place in it; remember you have people behind you and you are loved, and look at the world with empathy and kindness.”
Grads then came forward one by one to present their parents with roses.
A video message from Wesley Novotny of the Loran Scholars Foundation congratulated Lucas Dubelt, one of 36 students across Canada chosen from 5,100 applicants to receive a Loran Award, based on his remarkable leadership ability.
A video about the grads was shown as they donned caps and gowns, returning to receive their diplomas from principal Owen and vice principal Robert Tymofichuk. Then it was time to toss those mortarboards skyward, a glorious conclusion to a wonderful occasion.