The theme for the West Country Outreach School’s graduating class, ‘Learn from Yesterday, Live for Today and Hope for Tomorrow’, was certainly reflected in the June 5 festivities.
The grads looked splendid in their formal attire, the gym was beautifully decorated and the teachers, parents and special guests were all treated to an evening where student reaped the rewards of a job well done.
The 21 grads at the Outreach School faced struggles, challenges and obstacles to overcome along the way, but the discouragement and setbacks they, no doubt, experienced were definitely not obvious by their smiling faces.
And for them, their graduation night was a time when they were ‘living for today.’
Wolf Creek Public Schools board chair Trudy Bratland, one of the speakers at the grad, was intrigued by the themes chosen by grad classes as they always seemed so appropriate. She said the Outreach School’s theme was thought provoking and alluded to one of the most important beginnings in their lives.
“We could all take a page from your book for the future and govern our lives accordingly. May you continue to learn, live your lives to the fullest and may your hopes be realized,” she said.
She noted 25 per cent of the eligible students in Alberta do not graduate from high school and face more employment and educational hurdles than those who graduate.
“Some of you may have found this accomplishment relatively easy, some of you likely did not, so I applaud you for your commitment to your education.”
Gerry Varty, assistant superintendent of learning support and system improvements for Wolf Creek Public Schools was the guest speaker for the evening.
Varty encouraged the grads to find their passion, even if it meant doing a lot of things they didn’t like to do in the meantime.
Being flexible in one’s plans, while staying persistent and curious and working hard to achieve one’s own personal best is important, he said.
“And when you reach your goals, celebrate. Go have an ice cream,” he said. “Relax. Balance challenges and rewards.”
As the grads travel down life’s highway, Varty stressed it is important to relish the moment.
“Make a difference in someone’s life. Cherish friends and family. You have one chance and it starts today.”
Dave Robertson, a teacher at the Outreach School, and master of ceremonies for the graduation, encouraged the students to make positive choices and remember when their life flashes before their eyes to make sure it was worth watching.
“Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try and if you fall down seven times make sure you stand up eight.”
Robertson concluded his talk with a quote from Winston Churchill. “Never, ever, ever, ever, give up.”
By Treena Mielke