The West County Outreach School 2013 graduation and awards night was a gala affair, punctuated with laughter, tears and, most of all, an overall sense of pride and accomplishment.
The graduation ceremony May 31 at Rimbey Community Centre, was well attended by relatives and friends who came to pay tribute not only to the grads, but to the well deserving students who received awards.
Graduate Kelly Hitchner, winner of the Lois Holmes Memorial Award, gave a moving tribute to the staff at West Country Outreach.
Hitchner spoke about the many hurdles she had to cross before finally achieving her goal of graduating.
Her father died in 2011 and she became unexpectedly pregnant the following year. Determined to pursue her education, she approached the Outreach School, a decision that turned out to have a positive effect on her life.
“I had lost hope and lost belief in myself but when I went to the Outreach School I realized there were several students there actually doing work.”
She was surprised and delighted to receive encouragement and support from the teachers at the Outreach School.
“I really needed someone to believe in me and the teachers there really do care. They go above and beyond.”
Amber Hester, an assistant superintendent with Wolf Creek Public Schools, said the Outreach School’s theme, Hold onto Your Memories, was one of the best grad themes she had encountered.
“”As you leave here tonight you will be taking 12 years of memories with you and you will have contributed to 12 years of memories of the people in our school system, your communities and, of course, your families.
“May you always look back at your school years and feel a sense of achievement and pride. Cherish your graduation day as well as you parents, community and school staff that have helped you along the way.”
Hester wished the students good luck with the next phase of their life’s adventure.
“There are so many more memories to make.”
Trudy Bratland, chair of Wolf Creek Public Schools, commended the grads for a job well done.
“The diploma that you have worked so hard to achieve may mean the difference between being successful in a job or further education application and not achieving that goal so easily.”
She said the theme seemed appropriate for a graduating class.
“Although the song is a new one for me, it certainly speaks to the idea that while you are all starting on a new path in your lives, you appreciate your past experiences and the people who have helped you form your memories, whether they be good or bad — they are learning experiences.”