By Treena Mielke
The graduating ceremony for Rimbey’s class of 2011, a delightful potpourri of joy, pride and laughter, was not without a few poignant moments of sadness as students and staff remembered those who left an indelible mark on their school and their lives before they died.
A huge crowd gathered in the auditorium at the Rimbey Community Centre to enjoy the graduation ceremonies held Sept. 24.
In his valedictory address, Riley Properzi recalled student Wyatt Bauer, who died more than four years ago and would have graduated with this class.
“Although Wyatt isn’t sitting on the stage with the rest of us tonight, I am almost certain that he is still with us here today,” he said.
Properzi also gave tribute to the late Dale Ewanchuk, a teacher who died recently.
“Even though I did not take any woods classes through senior high, he made a huge impact on my high school life,” he said. “Mr. E. could be found at every basketball game, sitting right in the front row, cheering when we were winning and yelling at the refs when we were losing. I’m sure if he were here today, he would be celebrating with us tonight.”
The presence of Casey Howard, a loved and respected volunteer coach at the school, whose untimely death was grieved by the community, was also very much missed at the graduation, Properzi said.
“Casey was a huge role model and father figure for many of the girls and guys on his basketball teams. There is no one that can even come close to replacing Casey,” he said.
Properzi challenged the grad class to emulate the examples set by those three individuals who had passed away.
The valedictorian went on to encourage the grads to treat the next stage of their life as a new beginning.
“My experiences in the first weeks of university have already shown me that there is, in fact, life outside of Rimbey,” he joked. “So whether it be by foot, by plane, or by a beat up pickup truck, we are all continuing on our journey in a life full of the adventure of our own creation. So buckle up, I hope you enjoy the ride.”
Coun. Joe Anglin, who spoke at the ceremonies on behalf of the Town of Rimbey, encouraged the grads to follow their passion and be true to themselves.
“Rimbey is a great town because of you,” he told the grads, adding the teachers and parents deserved a thank you for a job well done.
Principal Tim Lekas gave a short presentation before handing out diplomas.
“The theme our grad class has chosen tonight is “Ride of Your Life.” This theme certainly points to the fact that this is a pretty cool time of life. There is much ahead, and you are each about to start a journey. Enjoy the journey, stay in touch, and enjoy the ride.”