Nearly 200 graduates filled the Art Hauser Centre to celebrate their success as students of Ecole St. Mary High School before starting the next chapter in their lives.
Graduates and their families filled the stands to watch the ceremony Wednesday, which included an opening mass and speeches by school staff, community members, and student leaders. Valedictorian Erika Thorimbert thanked parents, staff, and the community for supporting the students in their studies and urged her fellow graduates to trust in God during their future endeavours.
After the ceremony, Thorimbert said she was excited to take the stage with her fellow graduates. The 18-year-old participated in a number of activities during high school, including the school leadership council and volleyball team, and said she will start university studies in education in the fall. Thorimbert was also recognized Wednesday with a number of awards, including the Governor General’s Scholarship and Medal, First Academic Award, and the Calculus 30 subject award.
“I feel our Ecole St. Mary community has been a place of heart and soul where we had the opportunity, no matter who you are or what your interests are, to get involved in something that you enjoy,” she told paNOW.
Principal Mark Phaneuf choked up slightly as he congratulated the graduates of 2018.
“You see these beautiful kids who have done so much and given so much of their time at St. Mary, they’ve been good leaders,” Phaneuf told paNOW. “You recognize that they’re ready to move on, but it’s tough to see them move on.”
The ceremony Wednesday included a remembrance for both a teacher and student who recently passed away, and a special prayer for fellow graduate Jake Diehl, who was badly injured in a longboarding accident last month. Diehl remains in hospital in Saskatoon, but officially graduated Wednesday nonetheless.
Diehl’s family said he would be watching the ceremony live from his hospital room, adding that the day would be an emotional one. In an update posted online, Diehl’s family said he continues to recover and has periods of time where he is moving about in his bed and has been keeping his eyes open longer and moving his head.
Phaneuf said Diehl “has a beautiful spirit,” and was always very involved in the school.
“We’ve had some tragedy over the last couple school years, but more importantly we’ve shared so much joy and so much love, and that’s really how you build hope,” Phaneuf said.
On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt
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